Skip to Content

Working outside in the bitter cold

In the bitterly cold temperatures, most of us just take comfort in the warmth of our homes or offices, but some people around mid-Missouri have to brave the elements. For those who have to be outside in this weather, there are some serious health concerns. “There’s nobody that’s going to get that cold unless you haven’t got the right proper gear on. You have to have the right proper gear to make it though the days,” said Pierre Whitfield, Columbia garbage collector.

City garbage collectors spend 8 hours a day out in the brutal temperatures. They’re not alone — construction workers, delivery drivers and emergency crews also spend a lot of time out in the elements. “Fire fighting in this type of conditions is absolutely miserable,” said Gale Blomenkamp, Battalion Chief for Boone County Fire District.

Boone County Fire Officials said not only do fire fighters have to dress for the weather, but the cold temperatures can also cause icy conditions. “Roads — around the engine where your pump operator is working — slips and falls are very, very common this time of year,” said Blomenkamp.

Health professionals said even if you’re not outside working for hours, it could be dangerous to be outdoors without being properly dressed. “There’s two factors with body temperature that we worry about — total body temperature going down — hypothermia. Locations in your body temperature going down — freezing, i.e. frostbite.” said Dr. Jason Zerrer.

Health professionals encourage people to dress for cold weather and take frequent indoor brakes if you have to be outside for long periods of time. “You want to minimize exposure. So, being out for eight hours is tough. If you can get work done — retreat to a warmer space, at least for some time — go back out. Certainly, that’s preferable,” said Dr. Zerrer.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content