Workers deal with frigid temps

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knox County (WVLT) -- You may think walking to your car is unbearable in these frigid temperatures, but could you handle working all day in them?

"First of all it's just plain cold,” said Jeff Devlin, a Rural/Metro battalion chief. “There's no way to get around it, so you just have to operate in the cold."

They may be fighting a fire, but battling the cold is still part of the job.

"The adrenaline takes over for a good stretch of it, whether it's hot or cold,” Devlin said, “but eventually you realize you're standing outside and it's 13 degrees."

Their heavy gear helps keeps them warm, unless of course, it gets wet.

"Your gear just gets really brittle and you start hearing all that ice crackling whenever you walk," described firefighter John Creswell.

But when the alarm sounds, they don't even think about the thermometer.

"Everybody has a different job, we have got to grab one tool, somebody has got to grab the hose, there's a lot of stuff to be done when you get on scene and the last thing you're thinking about is the cold," said Creswell.

Construction workers for AVISCO Incorporated don't notice the frosty conditions either.

"I'm not really thinking about the cold weather, I'm thinking about my plan of the day to what I need to do to direct the guys to get the job done," said Tony Keener, an AVISCO worker.

According to Keener, they just bundle up to bear the chill in the air.

"Most of the time you wear like a carhartt,” he said, “bibs that are insulated, it just depends on the task and what you're doing."

Regardless, pushing through the cold can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

"Sometimes the ground is frozen, which causes your problems with trying to make some compaction with the dirt that you're putting in,” said Keener. “Things are frozen up, walking on it's a little bit, you have got to watch your step and make sure everybody's safe."

Whether the workers you see in the cold are constructing a building or saving a life, you should know the temperature is the last thing on their mind.

"Our expectations are that it doesn't matter if it's below zero or it’s 90 degrees outside, you still have a job to do it,” said Devlin. “We're going to come out here and do it to the best of our ability."


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