No snow days: Staying warm when your job keeps you in the elements
COLUMBIA - On a day when morning low wind chills hit the negative double digits, people in certain professions didn't get a snow day.
People like Columbia tow truck driver Melvin Phillips.
On any given day, Phillips shows up for work at Slate towing around 8 a.m. At that time Thursday morning, the wind chill in Columbia was -11 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
"It's cold," he said. "My hands and my ears are the worst part of it for me."
For Phillips and other tow truck drivers, they can only do so much to combat the cold.
"It doesn't matter what the temperature is or whatever the weather is doing outside, we work in it," Phillips said. "I have a long sleeve T-shirt, another button-up shirt, a coat, cloves, insulated underwear, a pair of pants, some water resistant bibs, an outer coat."
He said it's particularly important to have water resistant outerwear and gloves.
"If your hands are wet in the cold temperatures, the possibility of frostbite gets a lot higher," he said.
This is Phillips' first winter as a tow truck driver. In a previous life, he was a river boat captain. While he hasn't experienced frostbite on the job yet, he's keenly aware of the dangers cold temperatures can bring.
"With some goose hunting I did, I fell through the ice one time and I didn't like that," he said.
He said even though the job requires him to be on call 24/7, no matter the conditions, he wouldn't change his decision to become a driver.
"I like it," Phillips said. "It's pretty fun."