Snow delays ambulance response time in Quad Cities

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When 911 is dialed and an ambulance is called, every second counts.

The snow-covered roads in the Quad City area could delay the time an ambulance arrives to its destination.

“We try to stick to the main routes,” said Jerry Williams, Transportation Manager of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Davenport.

Williams said his crews responded to six accidents along I-80 in a 10-hour time window. Because the roads were difficult, it can slow his ambulances down.

“We just have to go a little bit slower just to be safe,” Williams said.

Jeff Doerr is a 15-year veteran of EMS in Davenport and says the snow can be a headache for medical crews.

“It’s like we have to navigate an obstacle course just to get to the call,” Doerr said.

Not only is it difficult for the ambulances to navigate quickly in the winter conditions, but drivers on the road often times can’t get out of the way of the ambulance.

“We have to make sure that people can hear and see us,” Doerr said.

The face another challenge after arriving to their call.

“Getting patients in and out of the house and into the ambulance can sometimes become very difficult because of the large amounts of snow and the drifts that we are dealing with right now,” said Williams.

But crews understand that every second is critical.

“Sometimes we just need a little bit of luck,” said Doerr.

A little bit of luck not only could help crews arrive to their destination safely, but it could save a life.

Follow Shane on Twitter @wqadshane

1 Comment

  • tooldtowork

    Doesn’t it usually snow in Iowa in the winter? I’d expect that the EMS system would plan ahead for this type of thing. Where I used to work it didn’t snow as much, but we planned for the extra time and effort needed to work during snow storms.

    Calls take much longer when you’re doing them in the cold and snow, it’s just the way things are.

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