First Responders Work To Deal With the Elements

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- When duty calls, first responders answer; however, in weather like this, responding to an emergency is a risk in itself.

Snow falling in Augusta County makes driving difficult for everyone, especially first responders.

"Black ice is a big scare for us. The roads may be wet and slushy and be fine, but we'll come to a section that's icy," said Kevin Wilkes, fire chief for the Swoope Volunteer Fire Company.

This is especially true, Wilkes said, in rural parts of the county where back roads might not be clear, so responders have to take extra steps to make it to the scene safely.

When the snow piles up and the roads get bad, it could take longer for help to arrive.

"We do the best that we can. We've got to get there. If we can't get there, we've just compounded the problem. Now maybe we've created another call for help, and maybe now we've left you there too," said Wilkes.

At Augusta County Fire-Rescue, "we do have four-wheel-drive ambulances that allow us to gain access better," said Lt. Joshua Bailey with Augusta County Fire-Rescue.

Bailey said they also change their response plans, so fewer vehicles have to respond to a call.

"Our drivers are pretty cautious, and they understand the conditions of the road," said Bailey.

Even if it does take a bit longer, Wilkes said help is still on the way.

"We're in this business. We're signed up to do this, to help people in their time of need. We're trained, that's what we want to do; we want to get there to help you," said Wilkes.

Bailey said there are some steps you can take to help them help you. Stay off the roads if you can and clear your driveway to make it easier for first responders to get to you if there is an emergency. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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