How stateline first responders work amid ice storm

How first responders handle ice storms
How first responders handle ice storms(WIFR)
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 6:59 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As drivers take it slow on the icy roads, rescue crews and first responders face even more challenges getting to emergencies. For every call they get, first responders say their top priority is to help those who need it. However, they must also worry about getting to the scene, before they become the emergency themselves.

In Boone County, District 2 Fire Chief Brian Kunce says during ice storms the emergency vehicles carry salt to minimize sliding as they get to a scene.

“It takes a longer time to get there, we’ve already had two in this last hour,” said Kunce. But Kunce says vehicle accidents are just one concern during severe winter weather. Many people get hurt slipping on the ice, and freezing rain can build up on power lines, weighing them down and causing them to snap. In some cases, they start fires.

“You must treat the power lines as live until the electricians tell you they are not, because it’s not worth getting injured or killed,” said Kunce. “Don’t touch it, don’t go near it, treat it as live, and call ComEd.”

For ambulance services like Metro Medical Services in Loves Park, CEO and President Stuart Brown says the key is knowing ahead of the storm which areas will be hit hardest. His crew of EMTs work with state patrol to keep up to date on road conditions, so they are aware of what precautions to take heading to the scene.

“In the winter time you got a big box behind you and it’s hitting that wind, so you got to take a little more time to try to get where you are going,” said Brown. “Especially for your crew and your patient, because now you got a patient in the back and that’s your number one concern.”

Kunce and Brown also say the best way to avoid accidents from the ice is by staying off the roads, however if that is not possible, take your time while driving.