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First responders facing Saskatchewan winter challenges

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WATCH: How first responders have to react when extreme cold warnings are in place – Jan 15, 2020

All of the vital fluids firefighters need in a given day are tucked away in a warm spot inside of the fire truck.

It’s just one of several things Saskatoon Fire Department needs to consider when heading out on a call during a deep freeze.

READ MORE: Extreme deep freeze ends in Saskatchewan

For firefighters, a big concern when temperatures drop this low is ice building up.

“Even when we’re not pouring water on a structure with hose lines, in this type of weather we have to leave all the nozzles open slightly and have water flowing so that the pump is circulating,” said fire Chief Morgan Hackl.

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Environment Canada has the temperature with wind chill at -44.

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The agency also listed the entire province in an extreme cold warning, which can make being a first responder that much more difficult.

READ MORE: Driver with snowy windshield charged with disobeying Saskatoon police at rollover

Saskatoon Police Service said officers are making slight changes in these conditions, but it’s business as usual.

“They’re responding to calls just as they normally would. Cold weather does not mean we stop doing our duties here as police officers. We put the public’s needs ahead of our own,” said public affairs director Alyson Edwards.

Medavie Health Services West added frostbite can take place in minutes, which makes a simple call for a slip and fall that much more serious.

READ MORE: Saskatoon EMO wants people to look out for each other during extreme cold period

It said its response time is slightly slower when road conditions are less than ideal, but they don’t rush to take a patient to the hospital because the care in the back of an ambulance is equivalent to an emergency room.

“So our staff really have to drive defensively going through intersections. When we’re coming through intersections, it’s almost like when we’re coming lights and sirens, you’re slowing down and you’re asking for permission and you’re watching vehicles who tend to slide through intersections,” said spokesperson Troy Davies.

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All three groups added working and staying warm in these conditions can be challenging but are glad to keep the city safe.

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