Snowy Roads Adding To Response Time For Emergency Vehicles

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UPDATED: Thursday February 6, 2014 6:36 PM

While snow warriors work to clear Columbus roads, some of the unplowed side roads are creating extra challenges for Columbus paramedics.

Medics with the Columbus Division of Fire tell 10TV the snow and ice on the streets and sidewalks makes response time about 25-percent longer than average.

That means a run that would typically take about 4 minutes could tack on an extra minute.
“Some of the side stuff and alleyways were pretty bad,” said medic Quentin Cowdrey.

Cowdrey was driving an ambulance Thursday across the city's streets---many of which remain snow-covered and slick.

He says there is only one way to handle the conditions.

"Just slow and steady,” Cowdrey said. “Take your time just like you would if it's your own car. You’ve got to take care of it, and we're not going to help anybody if we can't get there to them."

For the more serious runs, fire officials say a fire engine is automatically dispatched with the medics.

The trucks come equipped with the extra manpower but also with snow shovels and rock salt in case the weather presents a problem.

"If they know it's going to be a challenge getting the patient out of the house, they'll shovel off the walk. They'll have a bucket of salt. They'll throw it down to get some traction,” said Capt. Scott Krummel.

He says transporting patients from their home to the ambulance can be difficult with icy and un-shoveled sidewalks.

Krummel says getting there in the first place can be an even bigger challenge, especially on the residential streets.

"As the snow builds up on the curbs, parked cars come closer to the center of the road and, you know, they're pretty good-sized trucks widthwise and it really narrows your maneuverability,” he said.

But in the end, Krummel says the city has plenty of people to get the job done.

It is just a matter of getting them there as quickly as possible in less than ideal conditions.

"We deal with it. It's our job. We'll adapt and make it work,” Krummel said.

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