Construction Wreaking Havoc for Lubbock Emergency Crews - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/23/04

Construction Wreaking Havoc for Lubbock Emergency Crews

Any emergency could be a life or death situation. Response time is vital for emergency crews. But the color orange is wreaking havoc for Lubbock Fire and EMS.

Firefighter Albert Kraft drives an engine for fire station three. He says construction has been a slight problem. "Traffic gets backed up and its harder to get through and slows us down a little bit."

Station three is on Milwaukee. Kraft says 34th street was closed for months making it hard for them to get around. "There for a while it was strictly 19th St. to get to anything inside the Loop," said Kraft.

EMS Tech Jarred Pierson says he's ran into more construction because EMS has only six stations to cover the city, compared to the 15 fire departments spread throughout the city. "It's hard for us to drive through road closures. There are different routes to each different calls which is increasing response times. The street department is really good about calling in and telling us which ones are closed. Dispatch can make the decision to use another ambulance," said Pierson.

EMS and fire personnel says the toughest spots are 34th and the Brownfield Highway, and Frankford Avenue. So how do they cope? They're constantly looking for alternate routes, even on their off time. "Usually, when we come on at six, the other shift lets us know this road is closed or this road is open," said Kraft.

"We usually know the neighborhoods well enough to know what streets go where and where the detours are," said Pierson.

If you find yourself stuck in a construction area and an emergency vehicle needs to pass you, just slowly move your car over right side of the road. If there's no shoulder, they recommend you keep driving until you can safely pull off the road.

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