An arctic blast has swept over Marshfield with a fluctuating wind chill reaching -55 degrees on Wednesday. While the cold has caused schools and some businesses to close, essential city services continue to operate.
During high winds and subzero temperatures, the Street Department monitors road conditions.
“We have numerous pieces of equipment out today clearing the streets of any drifting. Any outside work that can wait for warmer temperatures will be done at a later date,” said Dean Schiller, Street Superintendent.
Wastewater Utility has been able to keep operations running with no effect to city residents, though private homes have reportedly experienced frozen sewer pipes.
Most of the issues have been with the city’s four lift stations. “You never know what’s going to get sent down the drain, so all those lift stations have to be vented,” he explained. “You can’t have heat in there, so we have to to adjust the ventilation on those so they don’t freeze, but yet they still let air out.”
Employees monitor temperatures and adjust panels accordingly every day, and several have been called out in the middle of the night. Since lift stations control the flow for lots of homes, many would be affected if a station stopped working.
“We’ve been lucky that we have a monitoring system, so if something goes wrong it will call out the guys,” said Sam Warp, Superintendent.
Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department’s daily operations have remained the same, with some additional protective measures.
“We have encouraged the Shift Commanders to take Squad 1 on fire calls as a warming vehicle for staff during incidents,” said Fire Chief Scott Owen. “We have also recently converted one of our old trailers in to a rehab trailer that will be used on scenes for heating/cooling individuals (depending on season), for hazmat incidents, specialized rescues, fires, etc.”
Shift Commanders are instructed to request off-duty staff to the station as early as possible in the event of a fire. Wood County Dispatch has implemented a Severe Weather Box alarm from Monday until noon on Friday.
“This box alarm means in the event of a fire, dispatch will automatically dispatch additional fire units outside of the normal initial response for any fire response in the county, including in the City of Marshfield,” said Owen.
The Marshfield Police Department has experienced some vehicle trouble but is out patrolling the city.
“Most of our cars are running, but we’re leaving them run outside,” said Police Chief Rick Gramza. “Some of our secondary vehicles like detective squads aren’t starting, but we have them parked in the garage.”
The department has received calls from people worried about wildlife.
He advised drivers who venture out to have a cell phone charged, blankets, and enough clothing to cover as much skin as possible. Plus, inform somebody where you’re going so they know how long it should take you to get there.
“Our officers are dressed for the weather, but we tell them to be careful and limit exposure if at all possible,” he said. “They are still patrolling the City as a whole because we want to make sure that we find people that are either stranded or in need of help.”
Gramza advises those who get stranded or stuck can call 911, 24/7.
“Stay safe and stay inside if you can. Warmer temperatures are on the horizon.”