It's out with the old and in with the new at the South Bend Fire Department, where uniforms are getting a major makeover.
Friday, firefighters traded in the last of their tan suits, which they've been wearing for about the past six years. From now on, you'll instead see them dressed in all black.
South Bend's one of the first departments in the nation to get suits made out of a special fabric, which is more heat resistant and lighter weight. The uniforms also have harnesses inside that make it easier for firefighters to escape when they're in danger.
“There's one called a drag rescue device,” explains John Corthier the South Bend Battalion Chief of Training. “And this is if a firefighter went down in a fire, another firefighter could come up, grab this device that's incorporated into the coat and pull them to safety. “
There's another harness inside the suit that firefighters can hook up themselves. It allows them to safely get down from up to four stories high.