Outdoor workers put in full shifts during subzero temperatures

Local News

Thursday marked the coldest day of the winter season thus far in the Quad Cities, and the frigid temperatures had an impact on people who work outside.

Local 4 News caught up with Jacob Klaman, an 811 damage prevention specialist, who spent the day marking underground pipe and cable locations in East Moline.

Klaman says he put in a full eight-hour shift.

“I’ve done about six jobs, or six locates, today,” said Klaman.

With the temperatures so low, Klaman had to find ways to stay warm frequently, which he says his company recommended their workers do.

“We will take, you know, little breaks here and there,” said Klaman. “So once we start getting a little chilly, we’ll get in the truck, heat up … that kind of thing. Our supervisors and the higher-ups, they definitely recommend taking our time and, you know, staying warm and being safe is the number one priority here.”

And the decision to take warm-up breaks was a wise one. 

According to Rich Kinney, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Davenport, when wind chill temperatures hit negative 20 degrees or colder, frostbite can happen in 15 minutes.

Kinney says, at certain times Thursday, the wind chill did drop below negative 20 in the Quad Cities.

“When we get into these type of low wind chills — when you talk minus 20 and colder — that can mean potentially frostbite to the exposed skin in 15 minutes or less,” said Kinney.

Fortunately for Klaman, he received no frostbite and left no locations unmarked.

“I mark it all — gas, power, sewer, phone, fiber … pretty much anything that’s in the way of excavation,” said Klaman.

Klaman reminds everyone to call 811 to get him and his co-workers to help mark places before digging this winter.

He adds, even on the bitter cold days like Thursday, he and his co-workers are outside helping do that.

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