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Many challenges for municipalities in cold weather

While the temperatures are expected to become mild over the next several days, we’ve certainly been dealing with uncomfortably cold temperatures for the last fe...

While the temperatures are expected to become mild over the next several days, we’ve certainly been dealing with uncomfortably cold temperatures for the last few days.

And, with cold comes challenges.

“There’s the rock test,” said Chris Small, Grounds Supervisor for the town of Orange “We throw a rock on it and crack the ice.”

He’s the man in charge of making sure you’re not walking on thin ice in Orange.

“We have a daily check just to see if this is ice or not,” Small says.

He monitors Wright’s Pond and Old Tavern Rd. Pond.

“Once we get to a certain thickness, which is usually six inches, our insurance will let people on (the ice), Small says.

He says, technically, ice is safe for a person to be on at a thickness of three 3 inches.

“We have a drill and we drill down with a measuring tape, take multiple measurements,” Small says.

But, as their signage says, you’re skating at your own risk, taking the liability away from the town

“For me to guarantee this ice is six inches, all the way around, it is almost impossible,” he said.

Another of Winter’s dangers: when firefighters are called to duty.

“it’s one of the most difficult tasks that firefighters across this country deal with,” said Dep. Chief Lance Edwards of the Bridgeport Fire Department.

Early Wednesday, a couple of Orange firefighters suffered minor injuries battling a blaze on Chestnut Ridge Road. Edwards of says continuing the flow of water, In frigid conditions, is helpful in reducing icing over.

“Once you stop the movement of water, in these types of temperatures, water has a tendency to freeze up,” Edwards said.

And, he adds, there’s not much they can do to prevent slipping and falling, while fighting winter fires.

“You will see they walk very gingerly when we create that ice and if we can we set up some barrier tape, but unfortunately you just have to slow things down,” he said.

Another challenge for firefighters: broken water pipes. The suggestion: keep your thermostat set at at least 65° if you’re going to be away for prolonged periods.