Danville firefighters gear up for snow to prevent delayed response times

DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) As the snow comes down, the calls don't stop. The crews at Danville Fire Station 1 were fully staffed Friday night and facing the challenges that come along with winter weather.

“EMS calls continue, fire calls continue, but motor vehicle crash calls and falls become a big part of our call volume,” said Battalion Chief Dean Fowler.

Pittsylvania County dispatch received over 70 motor vehicle crash calls on Friday alone. On a day without inclement weather, they usually receive somewhere between eight and nine.

“This will give us a little bit longer of response time, not only the fact that we slow down to protect our people, but we have to slow down to protect the public,” said Fowler. “We don't want to run them over with a heavy truck and injure somebody or injure one of our people as well.”

Usual response time is about three to five minutes and even though the times go up in this weather, they do have certain practices to keep it down as much as they can.

One measure they take is automatic chains for the truck’s tires. If the snow gets really bad, manual chains come out.

“They prevent sliding and spinning when they get into tight spots,” said Fowler.

The EMTs are constantly plowing the driveway in front of the station to make sure firetrucks have a clear path out. All first responders carry shovels with them just in case an emergency call requires some snow removal to get a stretcher in.

“Nothing changes as far as what we respond to and how we respond,” said Fowler. “It's just that we have to give a little bit of due regard to the conditions of the roadway. Just as any motorists would do when it's raining.”