From Chapter 11: Running Hot & Cold
Even if that were true, it wouldn’t let anyone escape the grueling task of sub-zero post-fire cleanup, gathering frozen hose and equipment while slipping on icy surfaces everywhere.
Once back at the station, they would need to be thawed first, then drained and cleaned. Many firefighters outside during firefighting operation are subject to this frozen spray as well. In addition to icicles forming on helmet rims -- and even from mustaches on those so equipped -- ice formed on the outside of bunker coats and pants, sometimes so thick that it seriously hindered movement.
At one such fire, a Salvation Army truck was on hand providing hot coffee or hot chocolate along with warm cotton gloves to freezing firefighters. When another firefighter and I stopped by to grab a cup to warm up, I reached out and picked up a styrofoam cup full of hot coffee, only to discover that enough ice had formed on my bunker coat and sleeves to keep me from bringing the cup to my own lips. Seeing this, the other firefighter reached over and broke up the ice at the elbow bend of my coat, loosening it so I could maneuver my hot coffee. After he loosened up my two elbows, I did the same for him.
As firefighters approached the coffee van, it started to look like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz where the Tin Man needed to have all his joints oiled before he could move.”