We asked readers how they stay warm on scene. Here are some of the more interesting — and funny — responses. What tricks do you use to keep warm on the fireground during winter?
"Cold weather bag is a must, have dry socks, T-shirt, sweatshirt, skull cap, gloves, a towel to dry off, heat packs for your gloves and boots and a plastic bag to put the wet stuff in. I can remember being out at fires for 10 straight hours in the cold, that bag saved me plenty if times." — Carlton R. Crawley
"Headlights are good for warming hands." — John Klem
"A wise firefighter told me to find a hole in the ground, twist an ankle in it, and ride the first medic to the hospital. Joking." — Randy Anderson
"In Wisconsin, we get a layer of ice built up on us; it's windproof, too. Just don't thaw out until you're ready to head back to the station." — Steve Rist
"I keep pocket warmers in my gear rack." — Elijah Gonzalez Gray
"Make an arrangement for a school bus to be available. They're not high on creature comforts but warm and out of the weather." — Bubba TwoBugles
"We have a Keurig coffee machine hooked up on the ladder and each has our own mug onboard labeled can man, irons, roof man, etc." Jeffrey Bingaman
"Wear rubber exam gloves under fire gloves. And, yes, put bread bags on before boots; feet will stay dry and warm." — Melody Kinney-Hollenbach
"A bottle of peppermint schnapps." — Jeff Lollmann
"Don't stand at the exhaust to keep warm. Extraction systems are provided at the station to keep these fumes out of your lungs." — Kevin Cormican
"I had an old wetsuit top with half sleeves that was a few sizes too large for me, so it fit loose and was easy to get into quickly. I used it as one of my bottom layers and it kept my core temperature where it needed to be." — Gary Schlotterbeck
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Dee VoglerWednesday, January 15, 2014 5:28:20 PMuse the exhaust to dry gloves or keep them warm while changing a bottle.
Ken SmithWednesday, January 15, 2014 5:29:32 PMteach great fire prevention ..............then hope like hell
Jeffrey FlakerWednesday, January 15, 2014 5:50:36 PMIce on gear will keep you warm, don't thaw it until you are ready to hang up the gear to dry.....Otherwise the water will get into the gear
Steve WolfWednesday, January 15, 2014 6:39:20 PMThe flood lights of your light tower is also a great heater. I've used mine numorus times at the pump panel.
Raymond AdomonisWednesday, January 15, 2014 7:21:47 PMCheck with your local Salvation Army, to see if they have a "Sally Wagon" operation. A hot cup of coffee, or hot chocolate, is always a welcomed sight.
Noah KleughWednesday, January 15, 2014 7:51:24 PMAs a pump operator I would take a salvage roll of hose and put it in front of the pump panel. This way I was able to keep my feet out of the water running down the street. The problem with that is we would have to chip the hose out to put it back on the truck.
John BorysewiczThursday, January 16, 2014 9:00:55 AMThin, layered clothing under the turnout gear. UnderArmor knee socks are great. And a personal gear bag with extra gloves, hat, hood, etc., is a must.
Marc BlaineFriday, January 17, 2014 9:22:39 AMHeavy WOOL socks for your feet. They'll keep you warm even when wet. If you can't get them locally, try Campmor or REI.- A swipe of anti-perspirant on the soles of your feet stop sweating. Dry feet=warm feet= happy firefighter. - Wear your Nomex/PBI hood around your neck, even if you're not on interior duty.- Alcohol does not keep you warm, actually opens the skin pores, making you lose more heat ( not so bad once you're back home though.) Always have some dry clothes in your locker and a spare set of gloves.
Larry PerrySaturday, January 18, 2014 5:27:40 PMSize your bunker boots a little larger than you would normally for your foot size. Wear bama socks year round. Keep extra bama socks on the rigs. Just don't wear those larger boots without the socks, if you are ate attached to the skin on your keel. The looser boot will blister like nothing you have ever experienced before.
Matthew QuinnSaturday, January 18, 2014 8:06:48 PMDon't stop. If you stop, it's all over.
Elmer PantherSaturday, January 18, 2014 8:14:23 PMTwo pairs of socks put on one pair .then grab two plastic bread sacks over the first socks then add a second pair of socks over the bread sacks .it works for me.
Jeffrey L. StanleySaturday, January 18, 2014 9:26:27 PMWear breathable wicking undershirts and pants that is the most important step.
Morgan YoungSaturday, January 18, 2014 9:32:31 PMa second bag of clothes on the truck seems like the best idea. the Schnaps might be good anti-freeze, but a bad idea for work.
Gilbert LeeSaturday, January 18, 2014 10:04:43 PMYou know david Blackburn ?
Morgan YoungSaturday, January 18, 2014 10:13:13 PMYea. Canadian working as us flight medic.
Nathan LewisSaturday, January 18, 2014 11:07:42 PMNever give the new guy the nozzle during winter cause your gonna get wet!
Kimberly SparkSunday, January 19, 2014 7:29:40 AMThe ice is so true! Learned that on my first fire 23 years ago.
WindyJo RallsSunday, January 19, 2014 8:11:51 AMlots of good ideas for anyone not just firefighters. keep extra clothing in your car. granola bars for energy if you get stranded in a storm. You just don't know about Iowa storms. Get stuck, be prepared.
Especially a blanket in your car not just in the trunk you may not be able to get to it.
Kyle MorrisSunday, January 19, 2014 9:48:47 AMCommandeer a bandaid wagon
Jason MillerSunday, January 19, 2014 2:21:02 PMMove up to any Chief spot and stay warm in the IC car ;-)
Nick GaffSunday, January 19, 2014 6:27:33 PMNever take your gloves off if you want to keep your fingers warm, once they come off you will never get them warm again.
Donald CatenacciSunday, January 19, 2014 8:15:01 PMWhat's with the bread bags in your boots? If your boots leak they need to be replaced. Why would you wear boots that will allow water, and other liquids in onto your feet?
Jim SchmittMonday, January 20, 2014 12:20:34 PMAnd they hold all that sweat in , just waiting to freeze. Good wool socks.