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Firefighters take special precautions in extreme weather

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Firefighters said that they face countless obstacles when fighting fires in extreme weather.  

David Maenhout, the South Bend Central Fire Department Battalion Chief, explains, "When we respond to emergencies we usually try to respond as fast as we can but we have to take extra precaution due to the road conditions."

He said that fire trucks and ambulances can slide on black ice, just like smaller cars.

"We've had a couple slide offs, we've had trucks get stuck in real bad snow storms in the past so it is possible."

Extremely cold temperatures can also be an issue for the equipment they use.  Their oxygen masks and the valves in fire hydrants can freeze, leaving them without access to the water they need to put out fires.

When conditions are really bad, they bring in buses for the firefighters and fire victims to stay warm until they are able to get the fire under control.

Fire officials say that salting and shoveling your walkways will help keep you safe this winter and ensure that they can respond to emergencies in the quickest, safest way.

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