Keeping emergency crews safe during the snow

(ABC 6 News) – If you drive during a blizzard and have an emergency, you’re putting the people who have to come rescue in danger too.

“We don’t want to become an emergency. We want to be able to respond to an emergency,” said David Friese with the Pine Island Fire Department.

Friese added just because you’re an emergency responder, it doesn’t make driving during a blizzard any easier. In some cases, it makes it harder.

“When we’re having to take these trucks out on the gravel roads it’s so difficult. Especially with the blowing snow you can always see the sides of the roads,” said Friese.

Another issue is dealing with other drivers who shouldn’t be on the roads. “When we’re having to drive slower because of the weather and because of visibility and these people try to pass us and going by so fast and it’s causing that snow cloud and you can’t see and that’s where we’ve ran into issues with our vehicles starting to float a little bit,” said Friese.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says even if it’s difficult for law enforcement, it’s part of the job to take the risk.

“If there is someone in your house or by you having a medical emergency, please don’t try to take them yourselves have us come to you,” said Sheriff Torgerson.

Both men say listen to the warnings, so you don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger.

“When we go out to some who’s stranded on one of these roads, a common phrase you here is well I didn’t think it was this bad. Well, these warnings were put out there for a reason and just because you see these snowplows and squad cars out doing their job doesn’t mean you should be out there putting people at risk,” said Friese.

Emergency responders stress it is not just driving that can be dangerous. Space heaters are common causes of fires. Don’t leave them unattended and keep them away from anything flammable. And never warm up your vehicle in a closed garage. Carbon monoxide poisoning could kill you.