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Calgary emergency service workers brave deep freeze for your safety

Calgary emergency service workers brave deep freeze for your safety
WATCH ABOVE: When the temperature plunges, we often think of those who have to work outside, and that includes Calgary police officers who patrol on their bikes, no matter the weather. Tiffany Lizée explains how they prepare for a long shift in the cold.

You may have spotted the Calgary Police Service’s bike unit riding around downtown, and believe it or not, their officers keep peddling through our city’s coldest days.

Sgt. Scott Neilson leads one of the two CPS mountain bike patrol units and says officers are patrolling on bikes 365 days a year.

“People are not going to believe that we’re out riding on bikes,” Neilson said.

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Sgt. Scott Neilson leads one of the two CPS bike patrol teams that patrols every day of the year – even the when the snow falls and temperature drops.
Sgt. Scott Neilson leads one of the two CPS bike patrol teams that patrols every day of the year – even the when the snow falls and temperature drops. Global News

READ MORE: Extreme cold warnings in place in Alberta, wind chills of -40 expected in some regions

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Their goal is to help make downtown safer by addressing social disorder in the city’s core.

“That can mean anything from drinking, fighting — anything where basically the comfort of others that live and work down here are affected by that,” Neilson said.

The team finds there is a big advantage to working on two wheels rather than four in that area.

“What we’ve found is we have the ability to kind of sneak up on somebody that doesn’t generally see us coming,” Neilson said.

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Sgt. Scott Neilson leads one of the two CPS bike patrol teams that patrols every day of the year – even the coldest ones.
Sgt. Scott Neilson leads one of the two CPS bike patrol teams that patrols every day of the year – even the coldest ones. Global News

READ MORE: Staying safe during extreme cold weather

He also mentioned that there’s more positive interaction with the public while officers are riding around.

“We’re very approachable and absolutely love [when] people to come up and talk to us. Little kids come up to us all the time and give us high fives,” Neilson said.
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CPS mountain bike officers wear goggles to help cover up as much exposed skin as possible.
CPS mountain bike officers wear goggles to help cover up as much exposed skin as possible. Global News

Their bikes have special tires to help with traction on snow and officers stay warm by covering up as much exposed skin as possible, wearing goggles and layering up.

“[I’m] pretty sure every one of us has thermal underwear on — top and bottom,” Neilson said.

READ MORE: What to do if you see someone sleeping out in the cold in Calgary

Calgary fire battling a blaze in the extreme cold.
Calgary fire battling a blaze in the extreme cold. Global News

Fires and crashes don’t stop happening during deep freezes and police officers aren’t the only emergency workers needing to juggle personal and public safety.

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“First responders and emergency services are outside on a regular basis,” said Calgary EMS spokesperson Stuart Brideaux.

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Brideaux said the biggest concern for emergency workers is the safety of their patient, wanting to keep them as warm and comfortable as possible.

“We have to make some accommodations for moving patients very quickly — although still safely — from whatever environment they are into the back of an ambulance.”

With temperatures and wind chills expected to dip down to -40 this week, officials are warning everyone that frostbite can occur in as little as 10 minutes.

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