St. Charles County first responders being set back by road conditions

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 12:10 PM

(KMOV.com) -- The lingering snow and ice is getting in the way of emergency responders.

In some parts of St. Charles County, it’s especially tough.

The St. Charles County Ambulance District has nearly 600 square miles to cover. Many of those miles are rural roads, which can cause difficulty.  

The problem for first-responders is the district contains several privately maintained roads, driveways that are hundreds of yards long, blowing snow and roadways that are difficult to keep clear.

Tuesday night, an ambulance on a call to Hopewell Road outside of New Melle got stuck in the snow.

 “When we tried to get through the snow we just couldn’t make it. We got stuck,” said Martin Limpert with the St. Charles Ambulance District. “We had to call a tow truck. The tow truck got stuck, and then they had to call another vehicle to break the tow truck and the ambulance out.”

On Sunday, a fire truck had to muscle its way through a three to four foot snow drift to clear a path for an ambulance.

The ambulances are rear-wheel drive, which Limpert says makes them decent vehicles for snow, but not the best.

“All the supervisors’ vehicles are four wheel drive,” He said. “They carry all the medications- everything an ambulance carries- and in some of these calls they can drive and get to the call and give aid ahead of time.”

Sunday’s snow storm isn’t just affecting ambulances, either. St. Charles police are battling the conditions as well, which is slowing down response times.

 “We’ll respond as quickly as we can with the conditions,” said St. Charles PD’s Erik Lawrenz. “With the snow and the roadways the way they are, especially on some of the side streets, it may take us a little bit longer for our time of arrival.”

Some first responders say calls actually dropped off Sunday as the storm came through and Monday as most people stayed inside.

As the temperatures began to rise again, so did the number of service calls. As of Wednesday, the calls were approaching normal volume. 

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