IFD adjusts to fighting fire in frigid conditions

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The brutal cold has been a special challenge for firefighters. The Indianapolis Fire Department has put some changes in place to make sure they can still protect life and property without delay.

Fires are common this time of year as people try to find additional ways to heat their homes.

But the brutal cold and the icy conditions can be especially challenging for firefighters.

As they are spraying water on a fire, that water often ends up on their clothing and it freezes quickly.  So firefighters have to carry a second set of gear and have it ready at the fire scene.  As for equipment, they call out only what they need in an emergency. 

And while they've had a problem with fire hydrants freezing in past years, this year, they've partnered with Citizens Energy.

"They have someone assigned 24 hours a day to monitor the radio they get dispatched on every working fire," said IFD spokesperson Rita Reith. "That hydrant specialist will arrive just a little behind the fire department to help mitigate any hydrant issue that should arise on scene."

Ice on the streets and sidewalks is also a big issue when fighting a fire.  So salt trucks will be often be called to help melt ice that forms at the scene.

And IndyGo buses respond to provide immediate shelter for firefighters or homeowners burned out of their homes.

Emergency dispatchers will provide an audible reminder on radio for time benchmarks so the commander on a scene can track how long the crew has been out and whether they need a chance to warm up.

Reith said the plan has worked so far, with no major issues.