Greensboro, NC - Every time winter weather hits, first responders across the Triad are standing by, ready to answer every call that comes their way.
First responders have to brave the weather. And their risks are arguably worse than other drivers.
"You drive up to a situation and you try to get the patient out of there. But they got into that situation because of the ice. You're now almost in the same scenario. You're in the same area where they crashed," said Jacob Robinson, a Guilford County Paramedic.
Robinson said his best defense is to rely on training and teamwork.
When the snow or ice hits the road, a first responder's first step is to drop the chains that are built in underneath their vehicles. They help gain traction.
The next step is to communicate with the team and with other drivers on the road by:
-Notifying everyone when they're going through intersections
-Approaching every big turn slowly
-Accelerating and braking as slowly as they can
Just like other drivers, patience is paramount.
"You have to remember that if you're going to an incident and if you try to get there too fast, and you get yourself into an accident, you can't help anybody. So we have to take our time a little bit on these icy roads to be there safely," said Robinson.
It's not just driving where they take extra precautions, it's every aspect of their job.
Robinson said when they're carrying stretchers and backboards, instead of the usual two or three people holding on, they have five or six.
That way, if one person slips and falls, the rest of the team can compensate.
When the snow hit last week, Guilford County EMT's responded to 43 accidents.
So Robinson has some lessons for drivers when it comes to making winter weather mistakes.
Scenario one: You're sliding on ice.
Robinson said the worst things you could do is turn your wheel or slam on your brakes.
"Keep it straight, and just tap on that brake until you do get some traction and slowly keep going."
Scenario two: You got nervous and turned your wheel.
"Your natural instinct is going to be to over-correct," said Robinson. "But if you over-correct and you're on ice, you're going to find yourself in a spin. And that spin is uncontrollable. You can get hit by other vehicles, you can slam into inanimate objects."
Robinson said you should turn to the left a little bit, but just enough to keep your tires straight with the road because if your tires in the front are straight with the road, and they gain traction, they'll stay straight.
Scenario three: You slid off the road.
"At this point, put on your hazards and try to find out if you're able to maneuver the car out of your scenario," said Robinson. "If you can, get into the passenger seat if you're on the right side of the road. That way, if someone else did the same thing you did, and their vehicle slides into this side, you're not impacted."
Robinson said if you slide off the road, never get out of your car. Your car is actually protecting you from another car sliding off the road. Also, that ice your tires slid on could cause you to slip and fall too.
Robinson added that if you see someone else slide off the road, call 911. Whether you're the first caller or the 10th caller, they want to hear from you.
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