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Dangerous cold, snow keeps 1st responders busy into March: ‘We’re done with winter’

MILWAUKEE -- Subzero temperatures prompted a wind chill advisory for all of southeast Wisconsin through 10 a.m. Monday, March 4. The high temperature for the day was 9°, and the low temperature -6° -- with a record low of -6° set back in 2002. The FOX6 Weather Experts said we could expect a cold Monday night, dropping to about 1° by Tuesday morning, with wind chills of -15° to -20°.

The dangerous cold was keeping paramedics busy. Officials with North Shore Fire/Rescue said, not surprisingly, weather-related calls were way up thanks to our brutal winter which included multiple snowstorms and dangerous cold. From slips and falls to carbon monoxide poisoning, first responders were busy in January and February -- and they were gearing up for more with March underway.

"We're pretty much done with winter," said Dan Tyk with North Shore Fire/Rescue. "We do take some additional precautions, do bring some additional equipment, send some extra personnel."

On Sunday, March 3, emergency responders were called out to 13th and Burleigh, where a homeless man was found frozen inside a vehicle. While rare, it was a tragic situation that Tyk said could've unfolded for one of the residents he serves as well.

"We had a person fall who was actually exposed for several hours. She had gone to take the garbage out. Her husband was home at the time but really wasn't aware she wasn't in the house until he went to bed and realized she wasn't inside," said Tyk.

Tyk urged people to dress for the weather -- no matter how long they planned to spend outside. When it's bitterly cold, frostbite can set in within just minutes. Tyk also warned about cold-weather dangers indoors -- like carbon monoxide poisoning.

"As we see continued thawing and then refreezing, or maybe snow drifting, make sure to check those vents on the exterior of the home and make sure there's not snow or ice blocking the ability to get exhaust out," said Tyk.

As it turned out, our interview with Tyk had to be cut short on Monday as crews packed up to check out a carbon monoxide concern. Like in this case, many of these calls end up being false alarms, but Tyk said if there's one lesson to take away from the bitterly cold start to 2019, it's important to prepare for these scenarios.

"I think we're all ready for spring," said Tyk.

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