Towing operators and other roadside rescuers prepare for the storm

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(Valley News Live) - Friday afternoon, roads weren’t too bad in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but experts say it’s only a matter of time.

“Right now, it’s pretty much just wet in town here, but once the temperature drops, it’ll start icing up and it’ll just be a chain reaction. Things start snowballing and we’ll be on the interstate pulling for state patrol,” says Adam Krajewski, a tow truck operator with Ed’s Towing.

So now is when tow truck companies across the area are preparing for the flurry of calls they know are on the way.

“Truck maintenance basically, organizing our shop – making sure we have all of our tools in order, equipment necessary, and tools on hand. Plan A,B,C in place in case of failure,” Krajewski says. “Everything’s well maintained and should be ready to go – ready to fight the storm.”

But when the calls for help do start coming in, if you're the one who's stranded - expect to wait.

“We can only do so much. But once this weather changes here, we’ll be backed up,” says Krajewski.

“We had a couple people last year that we pulled out that they had spun off the road. Tow truck company told them, well they’re low priority. It’s going to be two, three and a half hours. Messaged one of my buddies, got out there, got them out in about a half hour,” says Nathan Fleury.

Fleury’s one of several FM area residents who is ready to save stranded drivers. His group, Fargo Moorhead Pull Outs And Jumps, can be reached through Facebook - and the drivers there are prepared to use their own personal vehicles to help others to safety.

“We can either get their vehicle out if they allow us, and then if we aren’t able to, we’ll get them to someplace where a friend can get them, some place warm, something like that,” Fleury says.

Fleury and his crew don’t charge for their services, because they say it’s all about community and taking care of each other.

“I get a lot of people who are shocked that I don’t want payment. I have people who try and force tips and nope, not going to – I do it on my own time,” he says. “It’s just to give back to the community. Love giving back to the community – especially in a small town like this.”

But professional drivers say you take a risk when you get help from other roadside rescuers.

“We are trained, we have specialized equipment, so we’re able to do it damage free. We have emergency lights, we coordinate with state patrol. We’re able to do it in a safe and efficient manner,” Krajewski says.

But both rescuers agree – the most important thing is keeping their neighbors safe.

“If you are stranded, make sure you do have blankets, heavy coat, things like that. Also, get out and check to make sure that your exhaust is not covered by any compact snow that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning inside your vehicle,” Fleury says. “If you aren’t able to get a tow truck out to you, you can always look us up on Facebook.”

“The biggest thing is safety. A car is a car, it can stay in the ditch. As long as you’re safe, that’s what’s important and that’s what we need to prioritize,” Krajewski adds.

And the easiest way to avoid needing a tow entirely is to simply stay off the road.

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