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No Snow Day For First Responders As Emergency Calls Flood In

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - While many North Texans could simply stay off the roads covered with snow and ice, but first responders don't have that option.

Conditions on North Texas roads have not gotten better since sunset and that means an extra long night for MedStar workers.

Most of the daytime slush is now freezing and turning to ice and that most likely will be the problem for first responders answering calls Friday night and Saturday.

"With the temperatures below freezing I would expect to find a lot of really treacherous overpasses and bridges," MedStar Supervisor Brian White said. "It does present challenges as far as getting to our patients."

White is one of two nightshift paramedic MedStar supervisors in Fort Worth.

He said the conditions outside usually mean; "We're going to see a lot of wrecks on the road."

Injured people on highways and streets and medical calls at homes will take up the greatest percentage of 911 calls during winter weather events.

On shifts like Friday night, the calls just keep coming.

White says they range, "Anything from a cardiac arrest, to assaults, sick people, seizures, and chest pains."

The problem is getting to patients quickly in icy conditions. It takes ambulances twice as long to get to locations in bad weather.

With the goal of paramedics getting their patients to the nearest hospital possible, White says everything starts at dispatch. "We're thinking what are the closest facilities that we can take a patient to."

At the end of their shift paramedics are simply hoping to get the job done efficiently and without anyone else getting hurt. "We're going to just play it safe that way we don't cause an accident as well."

As of 9:30 Friday night MedStar had received more than 400 calls since midnight. They're anticipating the emergencies will continue to come in steadily into Saturday.

(©2015 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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