WINSTON SALEM, N.C.-- Even though freezing rain didn't hit the Triad hard Monday night, emergency crews prepared for the worst but hoped for the best.
WFMY News 2 got an inside look at the Forsyth County Emergency Communications Center to see how they handle calls with potentially dangerous weather in the forecast.
Preparation is key.
"Situations like tonight where they were calling for inclement weather you kind of have to look ahead and plan staffing ahead," Telecommunicator David Lawson said.
Usually, only 4 or 5 people work the lines and they can get a few hundred phone calls during the course of the night.
The center has state of the art computers and workers are able to take a look live look at the weather with their own radar system. They also have access to DOT cameras and are sometimes able to see wrecks right before their eyes.
"One time in particular where me personally was sitting here and I just happened to look up and saw a wreck that just happened at business for and 5th street it hadn't been called in yet," Lawson said.
Crews say the hardest part of the job is handling the influx of calls when bad weather strikes.
Although that didn't happen Monday night, EMS crews urge you to have patience on days when things get busy
"Just give us time. Somebody will pick up. If you don't the phone will ring until we pick it up. And then we will call you back if you are not there, Supervisor Shanon Brooks explained.
If the weather gets truly severe, storm mode will be activated. That's mostly in cases with trees and power lines down. More employees will be in the call center at that point monitoring conditions and answering phones.
Extra ambulance crews were on call Monday just in case people got hurt on the roads.
EMS crews say if you get in a wreck on a highway and no one is injured, call Highway Patrol directly by dialing *HP. This frees up lines for other emergency calls.
And for those of you who try to call in wrecks, look for caution tape wrapped on a side mirror.
If you see that, it means EMS already cleared the scene.
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