How EMS and fire crews brace winter weather challenges


SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) – Calls to 911 don’t stop when several inches of snow and ice-covered roads come through Kansas. 

EMS and fire crews in Salina say bad weather days not only overwhelm the phone lines but also make it a challenge to get to the scene. 

The crews responded to multiple crashes Monday morning and anticipate more crashes to come. 

Battalion Chief John Goertzen said this weather comes with a lot of preparation. He said station one adds two extra rescue and medical units. 

“It can get pretty dangerous out there,” said Goertzen. “We like to send more resources than what we think is necessary so that in the event that we have that we need those resources that are already there on the scene.”

Goertzen said he sends an extra rescue unit to each scene. He said it adds more hands to speed up the process because with snow lowering the visibility and causing slick conditions, clearing a scene is a top priority. 

“With the weather, we’re always at a higher risk of having a secondary collision so. we just try to get off the interstate as quick as we can,” said firefighter Jordan Stiles. 

“There have been numerous times where we’d had close calls. Guys jumping in the ditch and stuff like that to avoid getting hit by semis as they come by,” said Goertzen. 

When there is heavy snow, a push of a button adds chains for traction and a snowplow is on standby so crews don’t get stuck. 

Goertzen said winter conditions are risky, but not risky enough to keep the community safe.

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