On Wednesday, Newton County first responders were still braving roads with more than a foot of snow to get to calls.


On Wednesday, Newton County first responders were still braving roads with more than a foot of snow to get to calls.
 
Ambulance personnel are getting help from the National Guard.

“MoDOT has done a good job on the major arteries – 60, 43, 71 and I-44,” Gary Roark, Newton County Emergency Management director, said Wednesday.

The main roads, he said, were clearer Wednesday morning than they were during the blizzard Tuesday, but the big problem is rural areas and motorists stranded as they try to get to the main roads.

National Guard Humvees are stationed at the four Newton County Ambulance stations. For most calls, Roark said, they send an ambulance and a Humvee and split up the four people responding with a guardsman in the ambulance and a medic in the Humvee. The snow is so thick that it is hard for vehicles to get traction.

“The Humvee leads out and they can break a trail for them,” Roark said.  

On a couple of calls Tuesday where they knew there was no need for transport, the ambulance stayed in the barn and emergency medical personnel loaded into the Humvee for the trip. If there is a structure fire the Humvee/ambulance team will also respond.

Ambulance administrators told Roark that the arrangement has been a lifesaver for them.

“It seems to be working out real well,” he said.

Stranded semi rigs have also been a problem. Granby had a truck stuck on U.S. 60 Tuesday and in Seneca, a tractor trailer got stuck at the stoplight. Getting wreckers out to move the stranded vehicles was still a problem on Wednesday.

“There’s cars and trucks all over stuck in this stuff,” Roark said. “It’s gonna take time to get them all collected up.

“It’s gonna get better, but it’s gonna be slow. It’s gonna take a while; we’re a long way from normal.”