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Emergency Responders Plan For Snow, But Response Times May Still Be Delayed

ambulance

(WFIU/WTIU News)

Recent heavy snowfall and poor road conditions have first responders adjusting plans to get to callers quickly.

Kelly Mullis is the IU Health South Central Region EMS director. She says their emergency response teams have plans to send four-wheel drive vehicles out with ambulances to reach people in areas that may be snowed in.

“We educated our staff in advance: Don’t put your ambulance somewhere you may not get it out," Mullis said. "Let the squad go in front of you and if the patient is able to be moved to an SUV and up their driveway, then let’s do that.” 

She says normally, squads with these extra measures are only sent for critical patients. But on Monday, they were sent out everytime an ambulance was sent out. 

Mullis says response times were about 16 seconds slower than usual on Monday, and call volume was lower. 

Jason Moore is the fire chief for the Bloomington Fire Department. He says his department’s response times are also affected by snow.

“If the roads are cleaner then we can pick up speed a little bit. If it’s really snowy or if it’s heavy snow that hasn’t been plowed yet, our trucks can handle that but it does slow us down drastically.”

He says they can call a plow or someone in Public Works to clear a path if necessary.

Moore encourages people to make sure their smoke detectors are working and advises responsible use of devices such as space heaters and cooking appliances.

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