First responders work in life-threateningly low temperatures to keep northeast Ohio safe

CLEVELAND -- First responders are out in life-threateningly low temperatures, making sure the rest of Northeast Ohio is safe.

As thousands of people braved the dangerously cold temperatures for the Panic at the Disco concert at the Q Wednesday night, Cleveland Police officers endured the frigid conditions directing traffic downtown.

“In these types of temperatures, it is dangerous to be outside for any extended period of time. We are trying to switch out footposts directing traffic every 15-20 minutes so the officers can take warming breaks,” said Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia.

Sgt. Ciaccia said the traffic division brought in 10 extra cars to be used as warming stations for officers Wednesday and Thursday. They also relaxed the dress code so officers could wear additional layers.

“We are encouraging them to wear as many layers as possible. There is division stuff that is approved and most will try to stay in uniform. But the main thing is they stay warm. So, they may be wearing face masks and stuff like that that people aren’t used to but it’s so they stay warm,” she said.

And they aren’t the only ones.

During this polar vortex, firefighters with the Cleveland Fire Department are rotating crews so the frostbite doesn’t settle in.

“They have their turnout gear and layers of sweatshirts and stuff underneath, but it’s very difficult,” said Chief Angelo Calvillo.

For any call, the department will have two EMS units on scene so that firefighters, or any victim, can get warm.

“What happens is that water gets on their turnout gear and our guys are literally frozen,” said Calvillo.

Officials are also reminding residents to make sure are dressed warmly, wearing hats and gloves, before bracing the outdoors.

Click here for the latest forecast information.

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