For the past two decades first responders in Moline and Rock Island have been able to stay warm while being out in the field.
The Rock Island County Emergency Management Agency partners with Metro to provide warming buses for firefighters and fire victims.
Jennifer Hirsch is the MetroLink Manager and said in the month of February Metro buses have been at four fire incidents to help firefighters or residents during these freezing temperatures.
“They call upon us when there is a need for a warming bus as it’s happened here over the past month,” said Hirsch. “Say for a warm refugee either residents that were displaced because a fire incident or to provide a nice warm spot for firefighters who are responding to the scene.”
Rock Island Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey says firefighters rotate at least every 20 to 30 minutes.
“Anytime our members get water on them everything freezes up on them they’re turnout gear gets all stiff they get ice on their helmets some of their breathing apparatus some of their component can freeze up so having a place to be warmed up and some of the things thaw out really helps,” said Yerkey.
The warming buses not only helps during emergencies but also helps out during training.
“Buses not only provide a area of refuge to get warm but it allows us to change into the special suits we use for ice rescue training,” said Yerkey.
The partnership has been going on for the past 20 years and the partnership will continue as part of the Rock Island County Emergency Management Agency.
“As long as we’re in operation and we are available we will provide a warming bus when our partners call upon us we are committeed to our community and want to help when we can.” said Hirsch.
Metro also provides warming buses to other agencies in the Quad Cities.