Tulsa EMSA Prepares For The Worst In Winter Weather

Tuesday, February 4th 2014, 5:20 pm
By: News On 6

Sunday was a Groundhog Day to remember. In the span of an hour we went from nothing, to a couple of inches of snow on the ground.

There seemed to be wrecks all over town. Emergency response folks needed to be ready for whatever came.

Preparing for the worst case is the name of the game for EMSA and all the emergency response agencies.

Tuesday was not the crazy day it might have been, but combine a sloppy mess with temperatures in the teens, you've got another story.

"Tomorrow is a bigger concern for me to be honest. Tonight, overnight and into tomorrow," said Jason Whitlow, EMSA's Operations Manager.

Whitlow said this time of year the ambulances are loaded with extra stuff. Shovels, ice scrapers and ice melt are essential tools especially if they get stuck, or more importantly, if a patient's sidewalk or porch is icy.

"When it's dangerous for us to be walking in and out, especially when we are carrying a patient," Whitlow said.

So they double check the ice melt, and mechanic Heather Fields replaces the wiper blades on many ambulances in this weather.

"We'll call in extra people who have already gotten on a list," Whitlow said.

They call it the short notice overtime list, a supply of extra people for days and nights when it gets unexpectedly busy. Prepared ahead of time, for days like Sunday when we get more snow than we hoped for and for a day like Tuesday when we didn't.

Because of below freezing temperatures and all this left-over moisture, EMSA's worried about both accidents on the street, and slips and falls on the sidewalks.