Things that don’t do well in the cold

Fire Hydrant

A whip of cold weather forced several area schools to close, but also because school officials were unsure that buses could run properly in such frigid conditions.

Dr. Theron Schutte, the Superintendent of Bettendorf Community Schools said at 20-below diesel fuel can begin to gel, affecting the operation of school buses. He said they couldn’t “with 100 percent confidence” ensure buses could safely run in such conditions. Auto mechanics agreed.

“I see a lot of battery failures, a lot of starter failures, just everything,” said QC Auto Service Technician David Long. “The cold weather is hard on everything.”

Firefighters also have trouble extinguishing fires in the cold. According to a report by WTVM, not only do crews have to avoid getting wet and protect exposed skin from cold temperatures, they said equipment doesn’t always perform as it should.

“We’ve had problems where fire hydrants are leaking and froze up,” said Captain Bobby Southerland of the Columbus Fire Department. “Even some of our breathing apparatus, it’s only designed to go down to so many degrees.”

Another device that can “freeze-up” is your cell phone. Previous reports indicate that phones can handle more harsh temperatures when they’re turned off, but when they’re on the range is much narrower. When lithium-ion batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their performance suffers. A cold phone battery can drain faster than normal or it might appear to have plenty of power remaining and then suddenly go dead.

To keep your phone warm it’s important to not leave it behind, like in a parked car. Cases can help protect your phone, but it also helps to keep it unexposed stowed in a pocket or bag.

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