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Paramedics respond to calls despite trouble from snowstorm

As the snow continues to fall, first responders are still on duty and ready for any emergency situation. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN -- As the snow continues to fall, first responders are still on duty and ready for any emergency situation.

Snow-covered roads and sidewalks might have had some people stay home Tuesday, but first responders are always on duty, no matter the weather.

"I mean if people need help in all kinds of weather, it doesn't matter if it's raining, snowing, whatever it's doing,” said Carol Hoffer, paramedic supervisor with the West End Ambulance Service. “That's part of the job. You spend your life in the weather."

Hoffer says crews are prepared for the winter weather.

"We do have winter tires and have taken all the necessary things that we can to get around, but sometimes it is difficult."

Emergency medical technician William Yarina says they have to watch out for other drivers who might lose control or get caught in the ice and snow.

"Because of the weather, we're already behind the eight ball with the time limits for especially a lot of the incidents, like cardiac emergencies,” Yarina said. “So, once you actually get there, then you actually have to deal with the unshoveled sidewalks, icy sidewalks."

And he says seconds matter when responding to a call.

"It's something you don't think about. You know, you're sitting in your living room, ‘Oh well. Maybe you know what, I just don't feel like going out there in the cold so you don't want to do that,’” Yarina said. “But then you've got to remember in a situational emergency, those are vital seconds."

He also suggests helping out elderly neighbors with shoveling their sidewalk, because you never know.

"They might need the attention, not only just yourself, but somebody else, so be considerate to your neighbors and help them out if you have to," Yarina said.

Paramedics say these small steps will help them, help you.

Severe Weather Team 6 expects blowing snow into Wednesday.

Make sure to leave enough time to clear off your car and get where you’re going, and be prepared for snow-covered roads.

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