Inside look at how ambulance services prepare for winter weather


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Reported by: Price McKeon
Updated: 2/01 10:52 pm Published: 2/01 10:31 pm


 FOX23 has been following how street crews prepare for the winter weather, but they aren't the only ones who gear up for a major storm;

FOX23 reveals what Muskogee County’s Emergency Medical Service does to ramp up preparations before the winter storm hits Saturday.

Our FOX23 crew was in Muskogee taking an inside look at how the ambulance service in Muskogee got ready.

We spoke with Muskogee County paramedics and they tell me they're ready for any winter weather.

When ambulances hear of ice or snow coming, they have several steps to take to get prepared.

First step they take is making sure their vehicles have been recently winterized.

Next step is to add the additional equipment they’ll need during a winter storm.

The added tools include a winter box full of ice melt, folding shovels, and more blankets etc.

Once the weather hits, they tell me they take it one step further.

Winter weather can close schools and businesses, but it can't stop emergencies from happening.

We talked about having our streets sanded and those kind of things, but it’s also sidewalks and steps.

Typically, people take their time walking up icy steps, but when a life is at risk, paramedics like Cameron Kiffmeyer says it can be a balancing act between rushing and safety.

Muskogee County Paramedic Cameron Kiffmeyer told FOX23, “If you're providing some critical patient care it can be tough but you know again we're trained for those instances.”

FOX23 also spoke with Muskogee County’s Emergency Medical Service compliance officer who told us, “People who don't live on the main roads, that are traveled all the time, they live on small side streets and in the middle of neighborhoods so the sand trucks and the plows can’t always get there when the emergencies come," said Rebecca Williamson, the county's EMS compliance officer.

If they can't get there and an ambulance gets stuck, Williamson told FOX23 they have a special truck they can hook onto the ambulances to pull them out.

“We come and get our own ambulances out so we don't have to rely on the wreckers that are already over worked in these type of situations,” said Williamson.

FOX23 learned from Muskogee EMS that normally it's two medics for each ambulance but once the winter weather rolls in, they add another person.

“It’s worth a little bit of overtime during the middle of the storm to keep people safe not only the patients safe but out medics safe. We don't want our medics getting hurt either,” said Williamson.

Saturday night, paramedics and office staff had their annual banquet, Williamson explained it as the calm before the storm.

Williamson also told me once the winter weather hits, they'll go into neighborhoods that have gotten icy in the past and mark spots for ambulances to avoid.



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