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Crews protect themselves while working outdoors

Most people will be working inside and out of the cold this week, but some workers will work outside in the frigid temperatures.

Mail carriers will not deliver mail Wednesday in Columbia, but they are frequently out in the cold for hours at a time. Bart Green, the officer in charge at the Columbia post office, said they make sure employees bundle up and wear items like face masks and gloves.

He said carriers’ largest concern, however, is ice.

“Especially if they’re out at night because they can’t see the ice at night,” Green said.

He said they try to have mail carriers back off the streets before dark, but the carriers do not stop working until they’ve delivered everyone’s mail.

MoDOT also has crews working out in the cold conditions. Kyle Fischer, maintenance supervisor at MoDOT said their crews are also encouraged to wear layers to protect themselves from the cold.

He said they have to do preventative maintenance in extremely cold weather to be sure their materials do not freeze.

“Tomorrow morning we’ll be indoors and working on preventative maintenance on our equipment, and then hopefully tomorrow afternoon it warms up a bit and we’ll be back out on the road,” Fischer said.

Firefighters also have to work no matter how cold it is, but the Columbia Fire Department has one way to help crews stay warm.

Bus 76 provides heat for the firefighters while out on particularly long calls.

Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer said crews also rotate more frequently so they do not overexert themselves.

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