The U.S. is facing a Polar Vortex and it is safe to say that law enforcement on patrol during these frigid temperatures without proper protection could face dangerous situations. What can police wear to help them stay warm?
Here are five tips:
1. Warm Clothing That Also Protects
Well-insulated clothing is one of the most important aspects for police to stay warm in frigid temperatures. More than just heavy coats and pants, warm clothing should also include base-layers, ear protection, and even nose warmers. If nothing else, a knitted cap and full-face protection is a must if temps drop into the teens or single digits.
Frostbite is a big problem for officers who have to work in environments where temps go well below freezing. Of course, what law enforcement wears underneath their winter clothes makes a big difference as well.
It’s possible to wear tactical gear that acts as a shield from the cold weather. A high-quality tactical vest with extra padding can do a lot to help protect from wintry conditions.
Emergency response plate carriers are also durable items that hold up well in bad weather and add significant padding when working in snow or ice storms.
Most importantly, law enforcement should wear gloves to protect their hands. Because officers need their hands to access weapons when necessary, it’s important to find gloves that don’t impair mobility.
2. Protection for Law Enforcement Equipment
While all police officers should protect their bodies from winter weather, they should also find items that protect their equipment.
Because most officers use more than just weapons when doing their jobs, they’ll need items such as durable carriers for magazines. Plus, it’s worth considering durable pouches to protect accessories from damage or freezing. A pouch to hold handcuffs is a good idea, as well as a pouch for a radio and other utilities.
Radios are particularly vulnerable to damage from the cold. Without protection, a radio could break down and leave a police officer in jeopardy.
3. The Use of Space Heaters
It’s possible to find relatively lightweight and portable space heaters. Every officer should have one that is battery powered or able to run on a generator.
When temperatures dip into the single digits, a good space heater will help – whether placed in the officer’s car, or in an outdoor location.
Make sure the space heater is from a reliable manufacturer so it doesn’t create a fire hazard. Even a small, budget space heater makes a big difference in preventing possible frostbite on an officer’s feet.
4. Having Warm Drinks and Food Readily Available
Consuming hot foods and liquids keeps the inner core of the body warm in the extreme cold, which helps maintain proper body temperature and avoid chances of hypothermia.
Law enforcement bureaus should make sure their officers have access to warm drinks and food throughout a cold day. This means having access to coffee or tea. Keeping coffee packets or tea bags in their cars (or in their pockets when on foot patrol) is a great habit for officers to get into.
Packets of hot chocolate and soups are also recommended. Keeping these in a durable bag can help police officers quickly prepare something warm if they have access to warm water.
Of course, officers should also have simple utensils available to consume these instant edibles.
5. Quality Undergarments
While nobody loves to talk about underwear, it’s going to play a big factor in staying warm for law enforcement. The intention of wearing it is to help eliminate moisture buildup under all that warm clothing.
The same goes with wearing durable socks. You can sometimes find battery-powered socks to help warm the lower part of the body. As with space heaters, make sure you are buying from a reliable manufacturer to avoid any fire dangers.