National Guard assisting MEMS Ambulance Service - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

National Guard assisting MEMS Ambulance Service

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(KATV) Little Rock - Areas with the most damage might not get power restored until the end of the year. For that story, click here. 

In the mean time, the treacherous roadways are making it difficult for first responders to get around.

Members of the National Guard are helping ambulance personnel get around during these treacherous conditions. There are obstacles around every corner, from downed trees, to power poles and icy roads. MEMS has had difficulty getting to some homes, so they called in reinforcement.

They have teamed up with the National Guard ambulance service. This is how it works, if an ambulance can't get to a patient, the humvee is called in. It's driven by a National Guard member, but staffed with MEMS paramedics, EMTs and MEMS equipment.

Once they pick up the patient, the humvee drives to the waiting ambulance. The patient is placed in the MEMS ambulance and taken to an area hospital. It is a much more comfortable ride than the cold humvee.

MEMS Director, Jon Swanson says, "We use the humvees in those areas where tress may be an obstacle to prevent us from getting in or the hills where snow has turned to ice. Certainly overnight when it refreezes, a hard freeze again, there are streets where the ambulances can't really climb those hills."

Swanson says most of their calls are from falls, a lot of traffic accidents, head injuries and even people getting injured shoveling heavy snow.

Two humvees are stationed on the south side of the river, one on the north side, two are in Faulkner County. They can be directed anywhere. They're dispatched through MEMS by calling 911 like normal.

Swanson says, "My instruction to my crew is to slow down and be safe." He continues, "As they say, ‘We're here until the mission is complete' but how long we need the humvees  depends on what the weather forecast is because there is likely more severe weather coming at the end of the week.