Tulsa Road Construction Hinders First Responders

Thursday, July 28th 2016, 9:47 pm
By: News On 6

For us, seeing orange usually means a delay, possibly followed by a headache. But for first responders, a delay could be someone's home going up in smoke.

It's their job to get there fast, respond to your emergency and offer help. 

But with new construction spots popping up the route can often change.

Firefighters use a digital map book to help them navigate the streets.  

"That's what we rely on most of the time,” stated public information officer Stan May. “We've also got actual map books in there where we can just look at the pages."

The map books are updated with footnotes as new short-term construction projects dig in, and new pages are printed off detailing routes around long-term projects, information drivers review.

On Wednesday night, Tulsa firefighters went to a house fire on West Cameron Avenue.

Related Story: Firefighters Work To Put Out House Fire In West Tulsa

"The first company was there almost immediately," said May.

As other fire fighters were responding, they ran into road construction on a bridge that forced them to go around, delaying their response time.

"We realized in route we had difficulty getting to the location due to road construction," said Fire Captain Chisom Frazier.

The delay cost time and allowed the fire to spread.

"Our only access was from the north, so it delayed our response for a couple companies getting here," added Captain Frazier.

May says a fire can double every 30 seconds.

"If it's consumed one bedroom, 30 seconds, a minute later you're going to have two bedrooms on fire," May explained.

That's why the fire department also sends crews from different locations.

"You're going to get response from two, three, sometimes four directions," stated May.

911 dispatch workers also try to warn emergency responders about closed or blocked off roads if they get that information last minute, like from a caller or if they themselves learned about a new construction spot.