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Tulsa first responders are 'prepared and ready' for weather

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/04/2013 6:18 pm Published: 12/04/2013 5:07 pm

For Tulsa Area Emergency Management, the biggest concern is going to be what happens on the roads -- particularly highways, where traffic moves faster.

FOX23 checked with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Tulsa police, Tulsa fire and the Emergency Medical Services Authority, and all the agencies said they prepared and ready to go.

"We're just urging people to be very careful," said Kelli Bruer, with EMSA.

Winter storms tend to keep EMSA medics busy.

"Very increased number of accidents, obviously. Also the slips and falls, and then also some cold exposure," said Bruer.

Depending on how bad it gets, EMSA can put special snow tires on 40 of its trucks in just a few hours.

"Extra staff on hand. We have short-notice lists that we can call in if need be, extra maintenance people to keep the trucks running, and our towing service on the line that we take priority over other vehicles. So we're ready to go," she said.

On Wednesday, crews at all Tulsa fire stations were making sure they were winterized.

Tulsa Fire Department will be fully staffed, with an extra shift of crews ready to step in in minutes if needed.

"In a case like this, we've got all of our support staff is ready to go, all of the trucks have been checked out, we have all of the snow chains ready to go," said Stan May, with TFD.

ODOT crews will hit the highways at 3 a.m. with more than 40 salt trucks and plows spread across the area.

They will make sure to clear construction zones quickly, since they are already a bit more treacherous than other areas.

For Tulsa police, it's going to be business as usual for officers.

"They will still be out there whether there's ice on the street or not. One advantage that we do have is that we have multiple four-wheel-drive vehicles out on the streets now," said Officer Jillian Roberson, with TPD.

And officers will be ready to respond to calls just as they always do.

"That's what we do on a regular basis is we plan for these things. So we will always be prepared," said Roberson.

Tulsa police will be cracking down on drivers who are going too fast for conditions, since that's the cause of most winter weather accidents, and those accidents slow all those other agencies down from doing their jobs.

Even if your vehicle is four-wheel drive, police say drivers still need to slow down.

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