Louisville Water crews cope with cold weather - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Water crews, mail carriers cope with cold weather

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Many people are trying to stay inside to avoid the cold weather, but some do not have a choice but to head outside.

For some, it is just a normal workday even though the temperatures are making it out of the teens. Take the folks at the Louisville Water Company for example.

Even with wind chills down to minus five degrees, some crews still had to be out with their bodies in water.  At the intersection of Mansfield Court and Mansfield Lane, Louisville Water Company crews were reading meters and getting some hands-on experience outside.

"You just kind of get used to it," said Louisville Water Company worker Charles Switzer.

Many have to get their hands dirty and even wet to ensure people have clean running water in their homes.

"We try to keep from getting wet, but if you do get wet, you have to stop and change your clothes because that's where you get into trouble," said Switzer.

Even when the sun is out, the temperatures are still down.  People such as United States Postal Service workers carry mail out in the conditions.

One mail carrier says it is tougher to sift through the mail with gloves on, making it a bit longer of a task.

"You get used to it, the longer you're a carrier," said Anna Delk.

"You get used to it and familiar with how to do it so it does slow you down a little bit but not enough where it's really going to be an issue."

Switzer said this is not the coldest that they have had to deal with.

"With the water company, the coldest I can remember is probably minus sixteen degrees," said Switzer.

He said the companies teach them how to endure it and ensure their safety.

"Our crews are out in the elements every day and especially this time of the year we have a very active safety program." said Kelley Dearing Smith. 

"One of the things we go over first thing in the morning is what are you doing today? How are you prepared? Are you dressed appropriately? Our business is water and if something happens, you get wet. That can really cause a dangerous situation for our employees."

Dearing Smith said repairs on things such as water main breaks happen routinely, around 530 times a year, so  it is not uncommon for employees to get wet, but they made sure everyone had a change of clothes.

"It doesn't matter if it is hot or cold, water main breaks happen," said Dearing Smith.

She said if folks at home are worried about their pipes freezing, the best thing to do would be to turn off the water main valve which is usually located near the water heater.  This is to ensure your water is not flowing if a pipe bursts, which could be costly and messy.

Delk said USPS officials also had a briefing with employees this morning to make sure they knew if they started getting too cold, it was important to sit inside the vehicle to warm up.

Above all, employees from both companies said the best advice they could give is to stay in or bundle up.

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