Maple Grove Firefighters Prepare for “Worst-Case Scenario”
Firefighters hope they don’t have to fight a fire in the bitter cold, but they are prepared in case they do.
“We’re here 24-7,” said Chris Kummer, deputy chief of operations for the Maple Grove Fire Department. “Always prepared, always ready to respond no matter what.”
Inside Maple Grove Fire House Number 2, shiny red trucks are ready to roll into action if necessary. However, in Arctic conditions like this, the last thing firefighters want to see is an actual fire.
“It is one of the worst-case scenarios,” Kummer said. “Especially this frigid because everything freezes immediately.”
If and when a call comes, the fire trucks immediately experience problems once they leave the station. Kummer says the weather is tough on equipment and the 750 gallons of water carried on the truck and quickly freeze in subzero temperatures.
Increase in Fire Alarms
The weather is tough on people too. Even top-of-the-line gear only goes so far when dealing with a fire and ice contrast.
“Two extremes,” Kummer said. “It’s hard on the body. It’s hard on the people, especially when they are working hard.”
The city keeps close tabs on firefighters in wicked winter weather and will rotate crews as needed.
“In these situations we cycle them in and cycle them out sooner than we normally would,” Kummer said.
Fortunately the Maple Grove Fire Department has not faced a worst-case scenario. But, they have had other calls come in that keep them going in and out of the elements.
“We’ve seen an increase in our fire alarms,” Kummer said. “Both water flow type of alarms where pipes have burst and water is flowing and we’ve seen an increase in carbon monoxide alarms.”