Taney County ambulance crews prep for potential winter weather

With Missouri's southern counties under a winter weather advisory, preparations are well underway in Taney County.

Emergency medical crews are gearing up to respond in possible snowy conditions this weekend.

Lieutenant Johnathan Tudor with the Taney County Ambulance District says they're putting special tires on the trucks.

"Studded snow tires," Tudor said. "We maintain traction a lot better with them on our vehicles."

Tudor says they're prepping for what the weekend might bring.

"It doesn't matter what the weather throws at us, we still have to be available and we still have to respond," Tudor said.

In addition to switching tires to the steel studded ones, they're also stocked-up on de-icer.

"We start getting ice on the mirrors or the windshield," Tudor said.

Also, inside the trucks there are extra blankets for patients.

"This is the same technology that's used in Hot Hands. When you take it out of the package and expose it to air, it starts warming itself up," Tudor said.

Plus, even the ambulances are wearing an extra layer of warmth.

"Winter covers that we put over the front [of the trucks] They block the air going through the radiator. All our trucks are diesel engines. They don't like being cold," Tudor

Tudor says typically during winter weather, crews respond to a lot of wrecks.

"Luckily, most of them are non-injury. Usually, its just slide offs," Tudor said.

Still, that sometimes leaves cars stranded. Paramedics often check those cars to make sure no-one is inside, leaving a sign that they've been there behind.

"Then, we will attach some of this. All it is is bright orange ribbon. Some of the departments will use fire tape or police tape, it's bright yellow," Tudor said.

The says that simple system that cuts back on repeat 911 calls.

"We would hate to dedicate an ambulance to an issue that's simply a vehicle on the side of the road that doesn't have anyone in it, that we've already checked on," Tudor said.

So, when the emergency tones come in, you can bet these crews will be on the way no matter the weather.

"We are staying ahead of it, staying prepared and we will be ready to respond if there is an emergency," Tudor said.

Paramedics are also urging all of us to be ready for the possible winter weather: carrying extra blankets with you, having de-icer on hand, and, of course, staying at home if possible.