Fire, police departments prepare for winter season

Posted at 2:27 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 00:11:52-05

BOZEMAN – Winter has been trying to make its debut with Mother Nature giving us snow here and there, and the roads have gotten pretty slick a few times.

Emergency services have been busy prepping for the winter season ahead.

Having your commute be a little longer and sliding on the roadways are a result of the winter season here in Montana. The fire and police departments are currently preparing for the snow and ensuring they’re ready to respond to any accidents that may occur.

“Equipment-wise, we have our chains we put on our fire trucks; basically, our mustang suits, our cold weather suits for anyone who falls through the ice, just going through and making sure we’re ready,” Bozeman Fire Department Battalion Chief Graver Johnson said.

“Our ability to get places can be affected as well as the number of times we have to get places because of other crashes and things that happen in the winter time. We have to go out on the streets a little more,” Bozeman Police Department Operations Sergeant Travis Munter said.

It’s something simple drivers can do to make sure emergency personnel can make it to an accident as quickly as possible.

“Any day of the year, no matter what the weather conditions, it’s pulling to the right side of the road. We see so many times people pulling to the left, to the right, and we don’t know what to think. We don’t know how to predict it, therefore it hinders our ability to get somewhere safely,” Munter said.

If you do end up in an accident this winter season, police and fire departments both advise to be patient waiting for their arrival as they have to slow down just as the rest of us do.

“The thing that scares me the most about what we do is on the interstate. If they’re in a precarious situation on the interstate where they’re in the other lane or they’re blocking up two lanes, a lot of times I tell them, if they can, to get out of the vehicle because with the roads being that slick and people don’t know there’s an accident, if they come up and around at high speeds, there’s nothing they can do.” Johnson said.

“You kind of need to be aware of your surroundings, but really if you’re in a safe spot, stay there in the car. But if it’s in a bad situation, definitely get out,” he added.

The fire and police departments said they respond to more trauma accidents in the summer, but at the beginning of the winter season, they see a spike as drivers become accustomed to driving in the snow again.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News