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Firefighters brave elements to protect others

RICHMOND, Va. – Firefighters are ready for the elements. While most people are bundled up, or staying inside with the bitter cold temperatures, firefighters at Fire Station 14 in Richmond are prepared to handle the frigid weather.

"It can be very difficult, you have to dress for the occasion," said firefighter John Pumphrey. "The department supplies us with coats, hats."

Pumphrey has been a firefighter in Richmond for six years.

"Snow, whatever it is, we have to be out in the elements," he said.

He said there are several things they do to prepare before heading to a call, like making sure they are staying hydrated.

"Don't drink a lot of coffee, drink lots of water, no sugary sodas," he said.

With extreme weather, firefighters also have to make sure to keep an eye out on each other.

"We share the work load, there's a crew of four with us so if one person gets kind of cold we switch out positions so the other person can stay warm," Pumphrey said.

Lt. Chris Armstrong said while it's important they battle fires, firefighters also need to look out for their own safety.

"You have to look out for each other to make sure people are not getting any cold weather-related injuries or illnesses," said Lt. Armstrong.

The Artic blast also brought extreme dryness with it, a potential hazard to be mindful of, especially when coupled with Christmas decorations and possibly overtaxed heating systems.