Milwaukee firefighters ready to respond in dangerous cold: ‘We will try to help anybody we can’

Todd Van Roo

MILWAUKEE -- With a wind chill warning in effect until noon on Thursday, Jan. 31, officials with the Milwaukee Fire Department on Tuesday prepared to respond to emergencies in the bitter cold. The FOX6 Weather Experts said we could see the coldest air in decades -- with wind chills potentially dropping to the -50s at times.

"We will try to help anybody we can," said Todd Van Roo, MFD battalion chief.

For first responders, there's no time to take a break from the cold when lives are on the line.

"They're dedicated to their profession. They are passionate about what they do. They work extremely hard," said Van Roo.

Special precautions were being taken to prevent frostbite.

"We keep the firefighters warm to the best of our ability by rotating them in," said Van Roo.

When there are large fires, Milwaukee County Transit System buses are called in to serve as a spot for firefighters to warm up.

"That's a spot for our firefighters to go in, to keep warm, to put on hopefully some different shoes, different socks," said Van Roo.

The same precautions were being taken by tow truck drivers and utility repair crews who work to keep us safe and warm.

"Sometimes you have to step in and actually get them to take a break -- get them out of the cold so they can take care of themselves," said Van Roo.

Van Roo said there are a few ways you can help firefighters.

"Make sure that they have a working smoke detector. Make sure that the battery is good in their smoke detector. Make sure that they clean the fire hydrants in their area," said Van Roo.

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