Emergency responders ready, no matter the weather

Multnomah County

'Your life is our mission'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Even though the prevailing advice in weather like this is to stay home, there are reasons why people still go out and about. And then there are those who have to stay on the roads to help those who have trouble during these events.

Such as emergency responders.

Portland Fire & Rescue told KOIN 6 News all of their 31 stations has prepared chains for their fire engines. Once they feel like the snow or ice levels require them the crews will apply them to the wheels and the engines and trucks will chug along with big steel ice crunchers or cable chains.

Jan Lee with Metro West Ambulance said drivers often fall prey to roads that don’t look bad but really are.

“You can have really treacherous conditions and it doesn’t always seem that way it just looks like, ‘Oh, maybe that road’s a little wet,’ and it’s actually really icy,” Lee said.

But the ambulance drivers will only go “as fast as conditions permit.”

“We don’t want our people to get hurt, we don’t want them to hurt anybody else,” she said. “We need to get to whoever needs us safely.”

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As with others who need to deal with this weather, Metro West Ambulance took a look at all their resources, made sure their vehicles are ready with chains, and made sure they have enough staff to take care of whatever arises.

Inside a Metro West ambulance, February 2021 (KOIN. file)

Traffic accidents are obviously a common occurrence during weather events But falls are another issue where they need to help.

“It’s slippery. All age groups, from our elderly to our very young,” she said. “Slip on the ice, fall on the back, break your leg, your arm, you get fractures, you get head injuries.”

Hypothermia among the very young and the very old is also a concern, she said. The cold is also hard on pets.

“Right now we’re prepared to activate everything we have, if needed. We do have contingency plans and will be watching the weather very closely to make sure we know what’s needed.”

They are stocked with more heat packs, more IV fluids, more supplies.

But there is one thing people don’t need to worry about.

“We will always be there for them. We always say, ‘Your life is our mission.’ This is what we do,” she said. “Whether it’s horrible conditions, any of this, yes, we are going to be there.”

Metro West paramedics in 2021 (KOIN. file)

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