The U.S. Postal Service has a motto that promises the mail will get through no matter the weather, but last weekend’s blizzard, officially the region’s fourth largest snow event in recent history, shut down all mail delivery.
But it did nothing to stop the first responders of Crozer-Keystone Health System’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) who expect to be busier than usual when inclement weather is on the horizon.
For this storm that, according to the National Weather Service at the Philadelphia International Airport, dumped more than 22 inches of snow, the EMS team went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of the community and Crozer-Keystone’s employees.
EMS staff worked in extremely adverse conditions ensuring emergencies throughout the county were handled safely and efficiently. Many area fire departments collaborated with EMS providers to respond to medical emergencies. With the support of these fire departments, critically ill patients were quickly “dug out” of their homes and transported to local hospitals for continued care.
“While we had several days to make preparations, all staff stepped up to ensure all vehicles, including our back up vehicles, were fueled and ready for use,” said Robert Reeder, chief of the EMS South Division.
Bruce Egan, assistant chief of the EMS South Division, and Conlen Booth, chief of the EMS North Division, provided essential leadership during the blizzard.
“Bruce personally contacted the chiefs from our mutual aid fire departments while off duty on Friday and notified all staff what we were doing to ensure safe EMS operations throughout the weekend. We have protocols in place to ensure we have appropriate and safe staffing levels,” Reeder said.
EMS South Division credits the fire departments of Chester City, Brookhaven, Aston Township, Bethel, Parkside, Upland and Tinicum Township for all having additional manpower on duty in 4×4 utility trucks that could, if necessary, shovel, lift or even pull an ambulance out of a snow drift.
For the South Division, Egan worked the weekend day shift and Assistant Chief Jeffery Witters worked evenings.