Emergency services impacted by storm - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Blizzard Eugene

Emergency services impacted by storm

Posted: Updated:
Snow piled up at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury. (WFSB photo) Snow piled up at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury. (WFSB photo)

Emergency services, like hospitals, are feeling the pressure under Blizzard Eugene.

Crews at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury said they've been trying their best to keep up with the snow that the storm has been dumping.

Plows have made several passes, but wind gusts have been undoing that work.

It really picked up in the area between 9 and 10 a.m.

The storm is also creating visibility problems. Crews reported only being able to see feet in front of them at some points in the day.

Even plow drivers said they've been struggling.

"It's bad out there," said Alex Fernandez of Waterbury. "It's definitely slick and the snow is coming down fast, there's no visibility whatsoever."

The onslaught of the snow continues and road conditions are expected to remain treacherous throughout the day, including for ambulances.

Waterbury officials said they have 96 crews out, but it's a battle they're not winning as of Tuesday morning.

In New Haven, nurses said they carpooled and were dropped off just as wind and sleet picked up on Tuesday morning.

They said they work the late shift at Yale-New Haven Hospital and their trip was slow, but better than expected.

They were supposed to be in at 3 p.m.

"They said it was going to be really bad in a couple of hours, so I said 'let me get to work early,'" said Usman Quadri, pharmacy technician, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Police and firefighters in the city told Eyewitness News that most people abided by the travel ban. They had four crashes with no serious injuries.

Call volume was also down for police.

American Ambulance Norwich and Eastern Connecticut said only there were only two 911 medical calls in the past few hours. Emergency officials said people were adhering to the travel ban.

Connecticut State Police said between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. troopers responded to 14 no-injury crashes, 34 motorist assists and 342 calls for service.

Getting to and from St. Mary's Hospital has been one of the biggest priorities in Waterbury and for most of the day it was not easy, and that's why a lot of the staff is riding out the storm at work, rather than in their own homes.

The cots were out and linens ready, but they weren't preparing for an influx of patients, but rather employees. 

“We've made accommodations. They're not luxury, but our staff really rallies when we have a need,” said Jan Weber, director of Nursing.

She said when a storm hits, they need to be there.

Officials say the actual volume of patients isn't like a normal day, so no extra staff was needed, but it was important to keep staff here, for their own safety. 

“We don't want anybody taking a chance,” Weber said.

It is also important to remember to be safe while shoveling or snowblowing.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reminded people about overexertion and injuries that can happen during a snowstorm.

"Snow shoveling can be hazardous. More than 10,000 people visit emergency rooms each year due to overexertion and injury from snow shoveling, including strains, cuts, and fractures from slipping and falling. Nearly 100 people die every year from heart attacks brought on by shoveling snow. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads," FEMA said.

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