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Overland Park first responders battle cold temperatures

downtown KCMO ice
Posted at 2:53 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 18:19:14-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More snow and harsh wind chills can make outside jobs difficult, like when Overland Park police officers began searching for a missing woman early Tuesday.

"It was very cold outside, but the officers, they endured it," Overland Park Police Department Spokesperson John Lacy said. " They knew what they had to do. They rose up to the occasion."

Lacy said the officers were searching in teams and had vehicles nearby for when the temperatures became too much.

"They would just basically continue to comb the area, but they kept warm by staying inside the vehicle that time warm enough, I think, before getting back out into the elements," he said.

Police found the woman within hours. Still the Overland Park Fire Department warned that frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes.

OPFD crews fight against the harsh weather on a daily basis, which is why their gear is always winter ready, according to OPFD firefighter Jeff Stephens.

"It's typical bunker gear we wear during the summer and winter," he said. "It has a protective, fire retardant outer layer to it, but also has these nice inner layers as well. So these always help protect from the cold, help protect from moisture."

The department said when it comes to the water and the winter, they always lay down ice melt so they have a safe space to work in.

OPFD recommended that drivers keep a bag in their vehicle when it's freezing outside. The bag should include an extra blanket, jacket and gloves on hand.