Practical tips: Operating in wintry conditions

Snow chains

In snowy regions, many fire departments have snow chains permanently fitted to the vehicles during winter. But even in lower lying regions, there can be spells of winter, which is why it is helpful to always have snow chains handy. It is also advantageous to follow the weather report, in order to be prepared for snow and ice.

With just a few steps, you can easily be ready for winter when it comes to snow chains:

  • Which chains belong to which vehicles?
  • Do the snow chains fit the tires? This is especially important for new tires. Even if the same dimensions are used, it is possible that the snow chains no longer fit with other makes.
  • Are links missing? Are links worn out or are just about to give out? If yes: Let a specialist dealer repair them or buy new chains.

Usually, snow chains are provided on the drive and on the steering axle of the vehicle and are therefore immediately ready for operation. If the vehicles are parked in the firehouse with attached snow chains during winter, a protective covering or a carpet keeps the floor in good condition.

Positioningof the aerial

Once the operator has safely brought the aerial to the scene, the next challenge is waiting already: snow and ice during set-up and during the operation:

  • The surfaces under the jacking system and the front axle should be clear of snow and ice. If necessary, they must make sure of this with a scoop, among other things. At the same time, the suitability of the sub-surface is explored and tested as to whether the aerial can be safely placed there. It is not advisable to spread grit in the jacking system area, as this significantly reduces friction.
  • At cold temperatures, water must always be kept moving. If the working cage line is not being used, it should be drained downwards as quickly as possible. Lines for which this is not possible (e.g., supply line for aerial ladder), a throughflow of water should always be ensured (in other words movement).
  • If fire fighting water is discharged on scene and freezes there, it can cause very dangerous slippery surfaces. To prevent this, firefighters should spread grit on these surfaces. For this reason, grit or salt must always be carried along on the vehicle during winter.