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First Responders Handling Hundreds Of Winter Weather Emergencies

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Winter weather across North Texas has resulted in thousands of crisis situations. But how do emergency responders respond when travel conditions are dangerous?

At one point MedStar crews were receiving as many as 80 calls an hour. While many of the calls were the usual car accident, or fall on the ice – there were also more than a dozen calls involving expectant moms.

Inside the MedStar indications center dispatchers have been busy helping with all sorts of emergencies.

Since Thursday night crews have seen more than 41 car accidents and have responded to nearly a dozen slips and falls and a carport collapse.

In addition to those unexpected situations, first responders have also received 20 calls for childbirth or labor.

"It was controlled chaos initially as we began to staff up. We mandated inclement weather overtime through a lottery system, contacted those employees and looked at our critical staffing," explained MedStar supervisor Dustin Black.

MedStar crews are strategically placed around Tarrant County to make sure they get to emergencies as quickly as possible. Ambulances are always on standby. While waiting for calls the vehicles sit idling so that medicines don't freeze.

MedStar crews may literally be waiting to respond to an emergency but those calling 911 are still being advised to be patient. "From the moment that we take the call we let them know that this will be a 'measured response' due to weather, hat there will be delays. They should expect that," Black said.

Extra dispatchers were brought in to help with the increase in calls.

Just like everyone else on the roads today some MedStar vehicles have had issues. A couple of ambulances for stuck in icy road conditions while responding to emergency calls.

Anticipating a 'bad to worse' situation MedStar wants to be more than prepared and will have 35 ambulances staffed and ready to go.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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