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First Responders Deal with the Cold

BLOOMSBURG – Heading out from the Bloomsburg Ambulance Association and into the cold, first responders are braving freezing temperatures to keep the public safe.

"We just cover our patients, keep our assessments shorter, and try to get them in the truck and get them to the hospital," explained EMT Jeff Hower.

But what about the EMTs themselves? Working 12-hour shifts can already be tiresome, especially with the wintry conditions.

When responding to a scene, volunteer EMTs at the Bloomsburg Ambulance Association say it's important to layer up so they don't become sick or injure themselves.

Jeff Hower has spent more than 20 years dealing with cold at as a volunteer EMT in Bloomsburg.

So far, he's responded to many flu-related calls.

"Lots of layers, coats, hats, gloves trying to cover the exposed skin," Hower said.

Firefighters deal with extra challenges in the cold, too, like a fire early Friday morning in Palo Alto, Schuylkill County. The temperatures were near zero.

"It's very icy conditions on the roads and stuff from the water and the jackets just freeze up when the water hits it. It's very cold," said Bill Buckingham of Palo Alto.

At the Bloomsburg Fire Department, former EMT and current firefighter Tom Vought says it's important for first responders to bundle up and prepare for those situations.

"Instant heat pads, we carry them in a lot of the trucks, the boxes of the instant heats. If we can get guys to keep them in our hands to keep their body warm."

They know at any point they could be called out into the cold.