Despite the large amount of snow we had the past few days, local emergency personnel reported a decrease in calls. (Courtesy Town of Manlius Police Department Facebook)
By Hayleigh Gowans
Typically, when there is a snowstorm in the area, there is an increase in vehicle accidents caused by snow accumulation. During the most recent nor’easter that slammed the area on March 14 and 15, however, some emergency service organizations in the eastern suburbs have actually reported a decrease in calls.
“We only had two or three calls during the storm,” said Vincent Stevenson, director of operations for East Area Volunteer Emergency Services (EAVES). “It clearly made a big difference that there was the travel advisory and people were told to stay off the roads. …There was an awful lot of snow.”
On March 14 through 5 p.m. March 15, Onondaga County issued a travel advisory that asked residents to stay off the roads unless it was an emergency. In addition, all area schools were cancelled during the two days of the storm.
During other snowstorms, Stevenson said EAVES will typically see an increase in the amount of ambulance calls for people who have been involved in an accident with other vehicles and property, or who have simply lost control and driven off of the road. This most recent storm was the exception, Stevenson said, and the six members on-duty did not have to go on many calls.
Several other eastern suburbs emergency service organizations also reported a similar decrease.
“The number of calls didn’t increase I think because with all of the media coverage and the travel advisory in effect, people weren’t going outside and it greatly reduced traffic,” said Captain Kevin Schafer, of the Town of Manlius Police Department. “It worked to our advantage because people knew it was coming and stayed inside.”
Schafer said the Manlius Police typically will see the greatest increase in calls during the first snowstorm of the year, and then if there is a significant snowfall after a long period of warmer weather.
Fayetteville Fire Department Chief Paul Hildreth said the travel advisory, paired with the fact that many businesses and organizations closed and people did not have to travel as they normally would have, decreased the number of calls the EMS personnel would usually receive during a heavy snowfall.
To prepare for the storm, Hildreth said about four more members from the typical amount on call were put on duty to prepare in the event of an increase in calls, but the need wasn’t there.
“There was hardly anybody on the roads and the amount calls in Onondaga County decreased,” said Hildreth. “We were ready and prepared for anything because normally when the roads get slippery we do see an increase in car accidents and sometimes downed power lines. But there were very few EMS calls during this last storm.”
Although the EMS personnel were not negatively impacted by the storm, Hildreth reminds citizens it is helpful if they are able to clear out snow that had accumulated around fire hydrants.
“For the past few days, we’ve had crews out there clearing the hydrants to make sure they’re safe because for us to get to it can be a challenge,” said Hildreth.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.