At home experiment shows severity of cold temperatures

Fitchburg firefighter Cal McCreary uses thermal imaging camera to monitor the falling...
Fitchburg firefighter Cal McCreary uses thermal imaging camera to monitor the falling temperature of soup in 10 degree weather(WMTV Elise Romas)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 5:51 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2021 at 6:16 PM CST
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FITCHBURG, Wis. (WMTV) - The incoming temperature plunge is downright dangerous, even for the most seasoned Wisconsinite. The Fitchburg Fire Department is demonstrating the severity of cold weather through an experiment.

“We will see people suffer from medical emergencies much quicker in this environment compared to anything else,” Fitchburg Fire Chief Joe Pulvermacher said. “Thermal imaging cameras are used in an environment where we do not see clearly.”

Firefighters use thermal imaging to monitor heat when they can’t see through smoke. Friday, NBC15 used it to track the falling temperature in three containers of soup.

An NBC15 reporter and Fitchburg firefighters heated the soup to around 170-180 degrees, then separated them into three containers and left them outside. One container was left uncovered, another was left covered and a third container of soup was covered bundled with a hat.

The temperature outside was 10 degrees at the time.

After 20 minutes, firefighters checked the temperature of the soup using the thermal imaging camera. The uncovered container of soup dropped to 10 degrees. The covered container measure 20 degrees. The third bundled container was the winner, coming in at 90 degrees.

“We’re able to demonstrate through this experiment is the importance of protecting yourself in the extreme environment the fact that you can cool down very quickly and without appropriate protection,” Pulvermacher said.

The Chief’s best advice is to stay inside or bundle up.

“If there’s one thing that can be learned from this experiment it’s if you have to go outside, prepare yourself to do so,” Pulvermacher said.

If the experiment doesn’t convince you how serious this is, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported 83 people in the state died last year from severe cold.

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