Workers brave the extreme cold

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Most people want to avoid the extreme cold as much as possible, but workers like Bryce Williams can't avoid it. His job forces him outdoors all year round.

"It takes maybe a couple of weeks of us getting used to going from that extreme heat to extreme cold," says Bryce Williams.

Williams works as a driver for Rock River Disposal. He adds extra layers and bundles up for extra protection on his route.

While temperatures are dropping fast, medical experts, like SwedishAmerican Physician Assistant Zachary Hathway, say we also should be worried about the wind.

"The wind itself can be a really big factor. They need to be careful of just exposed skin. It can still cause burns," says Hathway.

Hathway says frostbite is more common than hypothermia and can occur within minutes of your skin being exposed to extreme colds. The wind chill can cool your skin temperature up to 15 degrees lower than the surrounding temperature.

Hathway adds, "At any point, it starts concerning if you actually like stop. If you're still getting colder but your body stops shivering, that's when your body is losing its normal ability to cope."

The frigid temperatures did a number on Rock River Disposal's vehicles, causing many of them to struggle to start. But Williams' supervisor, Rocco Guglielmetti, says the safety of the company's employees is the top concern.

"We tell them take your time, be safe. It will get done, and you'll go home safe to your family. And we'll keep everybody out in the streets of Rockford safe," says Guglielmetti.

Hathway says if you plan on being outside for long periods of time, have a fresh pair of socks. He says the socks make a big difference for body temperature.