EMSA Experiences Busier Than Normal Day Due To Winter Weather


Sunday, December 13th 2020, 9:36 pm
By: Ashlyn Brothers


TULSA, Okla. -

A blanket of snow covered Green Country, while ice, slush, and slick spots taunted traffic.

First responders told News On 6 they were busy on Sunday helping drivers impacted by the wintry road conditions.

Mark Madeja with AAA Oklahoma said everyone could use a few road safety reminders as drivers brave the winter months. 

EMSA said its crews have responded to more than 30 slips and falls. Many of those required trips to the hospital. EMSA said most of them were weather-related.

Medics told News On 6 their normal amount on a day such as Sunday is 18 slip and fall responses. 

Madeja said snow can be fun until you're stranded on the side of the highway. 

"People lose their lives, so this is serious stuff,” Madeja said. “This is very serious. We want to play it safe. Again, if you don't need to drive, please don't. Stay home. Make a crock pot dish. Enjoy the day." 

Madeja suggests checking your battery and tire pressure, as well as using season-appropriate wiper fluid. He said it's better to avoid cruise control, beware of bridges, drive under the speed limit in slick conditions and only change lanes when necessary. 

Don't let your eyes deceive you, Madeja said, because roads can refreeze overnight and drivers can run the risk of driving over black ice.

Experts said putting clay-based kitty litter around wheels should provide drivers with extra traction when stuck. Madeja told News On 6 there's a reason you see signs that say bridges freeze faster. They're the first to freeze, Madeja said, and the last to thaw.

Madeja couldn’t stress this enough: If you don't feel safe, pull over and ask for help. 

"Let somebody know when you're leaving your home, when you expect to arrive and what route you're taking,” Madeja said. 

Tulsa Fire Department's Andy Little said fire crews have responded to dozens of wrecks, including accidents involving pedestrians, a bus with multiple passengers and power lines that are down across the city. 

"This weather is not something we're used to,” Little said. “Drivers don't have practice on roads like this." 

It is critical for drivers to yield for first responders. 

“They're on their way to render aid to someone who's in need, and we want to make sure that our neighbors get the help they deserve," Little said. 

Little said it's tempting to drive around and see the snow but not always a good idea. 

"It could change your day from sight-seeing to injury or worse,” Little said. "It's very important that you slow down, think about each other. We want to make sure everyone gets home safe." 

Little said drivers who get stuck on the shoulder should leave their vehicles and walk away from traffic since another driver could lose control and hit their car. 

Madeja recommends carrying a car safety kit with items like an ice scraper, jumper cables, a first aid kit, snacks, water and a phone charger.