Hoosiers brace for a bitterly cold week

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Temperatures plunging into the single digits created some issues for Hoosiers in central Indiana, while others seemed to take advantage of the bitter cold.

At Eagle Creek Park, groups of Hoosiers could be seen taking in the great outdoors. One man, Ben Burg, who traveled from California while on vacation, said the cold weather and snow “thrilled him” while others could be seen running to their cars after only spending a few minutes outdoors.

“I’m not claiming I could stay out here all day, my face is definitely numb, but this is fun for me, I brought a lot of layers,” Burg said.

While people like Burg enjoy the cold, there are some that are forced to deal with its consequences. IFD Battalion chief Rick Longerich says plunging temperatures often make the job of a firefighter more difficult.

Longerich says issues with freezing hoses and walking surfaces often make fires more difficult to put out, and can prolong the time crews are on scene. All this while the department commonly sees an increase in service calls due to the misuse of heating sourcing such as space heaters, fireplaces and furnaces.

“It's not when you’re operating actively inside a fire, but if you have to go defensive and be outside then it becomes a lot more problematic,” Longerich said.  “The hose lines have a tendency to freeze, we can’t shut them down all the way. The water that we use to fight the fire and establish water supply from hydrants freezes in the streets,” he continued.

While the cold can often create problems for humans, animal care advocates are also drawing attention to the negative effects it poses to animals.  Steven Stolen with the Indy Humane Society says animals can experience the same kind of cold sensitivity that a human can.

He’s warning Hoosiers to the importance of doing things like bringing animals indoors, and if letting them out, letting them out for shorter periods of time. Once the animals come back inside he says it’s also important to check sensitive areas like paws and underbellies as they are the most sensitive and can lead to hypothermia.

“If you feel cold, your pet is probably feeling cold too” Stolen said. “It’s the same kind of comfort pattern, we just sometimes think that because they’re covered in fur that they’re immune to the cold and they’re not,” he added.

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