Emergency Crews Challenged By Heavy Snow

MEAD – The snow just kept piling up overnight, weighing down trees and even breaking off branches like some on Dean and Oakin west central Spokane, where one ended up in the back of a truck.

With the constant snow, emergency crews are having a difficult time navigating the slick roads. Emergency response time increases when heavy snow falls.

At Spokane County Fire District #9’s Station 91 in North Spokane County, firefighters say with the bad road conditions, the time it takes them to get to an emergency can double.

“We’ll be going on a lot of car wrecks, a lot of slide-offs,” says Jeremy Bunney.

Bunney drives the engine truck at Station 91. He says when on icy and snow-packed streets, emergency crews get no magical pass.

“It’s better to be slow and safe than to get in an accident,” he says.

Bunney says the larger fire trucks have the advantage of weight and these huge tire chains. Still, even big rigs with traction control can slide on ice or bog down in snow drifts. In addition, snow covered fire hydrants can slow crews down. At one house fire on Monday in south Spokane, crews had to spend precious minutes cleaning off the hydrants.

Before they can even leave the station, fire fighters have to clean the driveway for a speedy exit.

“We woke up there was quite a bit,” Bunney says. “Just like at your house, we’ve got lots of shoveling to do here too.”