Public safety crews adapt to handle emergency calls after ice storm

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Public safety departments found themselves having to make some adjustments over the past three days to respond to the enormous number of emergency calls, officials said, but were able to meet requests for assistance.

Cape Girardeau firefighters received more that a hundred calls between Tuesday and Wednesday.

In many cases, road closures and obstructions made it necessary for first responders to take alternate routes, resulting in slower-than-usual responses, said Mike Morgan, Cape Girardeau fire marshal.

"Always makes it exciting when you turn that corner and see a tree down," he said.

Because of the volume of emergency calls, even with two additional crews working during the storm, firefighters began responding individually to calls, to see if additional help was needed, Morgan said.

Jackson firefighters shifted manpower from their customary one crew of four to two crews of three, because they received so many calls, Capt. Jason Mouser said.

They received a flurry of calls Wednesday, with five or six injuries reported from people falling on the ice, he said.

Streets were still slick, he said, and many people were taking more chances outside believing the worst had been cleared up.

Scott City firefighters received about 15 calls to respond to power lines arcing, chief Jay Cassout said.

In Bollinger County, there were no injuries reported, but numerous emergency calls related to medical conditions and complications from roughly 2,000 people being without power as late as 6 p.m. Wednesday, said Calvin Troxell, assistant director of Emergency Operations Management.

Lynn Cornman, who lives on Route B in Bollinger County, said she's surprised the damage wasn't worse.

Cornman and her family had their own generator, so they were able to wait out the loss of power, she said.

They provided their 70-year-old neighbor with a small generator and made frequent checks on her, Cornman said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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