First responders gear up for wintry weather in Lynchburg

Published: Mar. 11, 2018 at 9:47 PM EDT
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The wintry weather can bring road conditions that are especially difficult for first-responders to navigate. From firefighters to paramedics, the snow and ice requires some extra prep work.

With gray skies and windshield wipers preemptively up, all signs on Sunday pointed to snow.

“All we know is it's just a matter of time,” said Mike Reeves, Battalion Chief for the Lynchburg Fire Department. “Sooner or later it will be here, so we try to be prepared for that all the time.”

The LFD gave WDBJ7 a sneak peek at what goes into getting first responders ready the inclement weather.

Traction for the tires is key. When the snow is light, each truck uses drop chains that are built in. When the snowfall is heavier, manual chains come out. They are wrapped around each tire when the snow is over about four inches.

“No matter what the weather is people still have medical emergencies and so we still have to be able to respond to those emergencies,” said Sam Young, a firefighter/EMT with the department.

The calls tend to increase with the wintry weather.

“We will be responding to a lot more incidents,” said Hunter Guill, firefighter/EMT. “And it's going to take us longer to get there because we're going to have to be traveling slower especially if you have to put the chains on them.”

When VDOT is out clearing the roads, they're doing it with the first responders in mind.

“We want to make sure that they have the best, the safest route that they can have as well,” said Paula Jones with VDOT’s Lynchburg District. “We want them to reach people in trouble.”

When the firefighters gear up for work every day, it's already an unpredictable job. Snow adds another layer to that.

“You never know what you're going into,” said Guill. “You never know when the tones will go off and you're going to get that next call.”

But it doesn't affect how they treat the job.

“A call is a call,” said Reeves. “We run them all about the same.”