The Oklahoma City metro area’s largest ambulance service has a long list of paramedics and EMT’s ready to report to work ahead of an incoming storm that could drop a foot of snow.
“Anytime there’s winter weather, that poses a lot of problems with our ambulances,” said Adam Paluka, a spokesperson for EMSA. “The fewer people that are out on the roads, the better.”
EMSA will be coordinating with other emergency responders as drivers could become stranded in potentially historic low temperatures.
“In the event that we do get historic snowfall amounts, we will all come up together with a plan to make sure we are able to reach our patients and transport them safely to the hospital.”
Throughout 2020, EMSA’s average response times became longer by several minutes as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened in Oklahoma.
In recent weeks, the number of new cases and hospitalizations from the virus have dropped. Paluka said EMSA is benefitting from their workers being inoculated with COVID-19 vaccinations, and response times are improving.
“This week we’re seeing some of our best numbers that we’ve seen in a while,” he said. “We currently don’t have any EMT’s or paramedics in quarantine or isolation.”
Paluka said drivers can help emergency responders by staying home. Bringing a ‘to-go bag’ with extra clothes, food, water, and a battery charger can save lives in the event someone gets stuck outside.
“It’s time for us to rally together as one OKC to get through this. Hopefully, by this time next week, we’ll be looking back at this winter storm with smiles,” he said.