Law enforcement & paramedics prepare to respond in bitter cold: 'It's real tough to prepare yourself'

On frigid days like today first responders have to make sure they're not putting themselves at risk while still responding to car crashes and home accidents.

Posted: Feb 13, 2020 5:21 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 7:09 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Law enforcement and paramedics are often the first on scene to save us in an emergency but on frigid days like today they have to make sure they're not putting themselves at risk while still responding to car crashes and home accidents.

Senior director of Ambulance Services Mayo Clinic Paul Drucker explained, "If we're not prepared then it's a distraction from patient care and we can't do the best we can for patients."

Drucker says Mayo Clinic plans ahead. They have a daily leadership brief with agencies across Minnesota and Wisconsin to discuss weather events, road closures and look ahead at the next 24-hours.

"We were looking ahead to this cold snap knowing that this is a pretty extraordinary risk for patients and our crew members.
Vehicle operations, the vehicles don't always perform the same way when it's very cold," he said.

Assistant supervisor Kate Arms say on cold call days crews put additives in the fuel so the diesel-powered ambulances can perform in the low temps. She says cold also impact the way paramedics interact with patients.

"It affects the way we run our calls in that we can't leave a patient outside or we need to make sure we can get them from their home to the ambulance faster than we normally would. So, they're all things we need to account for in the way that we do patient care," said Arms.

Arms added the cold weather can, of course, increase call volume saying, "Today has been one of our busy days that our call volume has been up. We've been running a lot of calls, some weather related, some just happen to be medicals in the system that we've been running."

Minnesota State Patrol prepares as well by making sure to bundle up so troopers can be outside for longer periods of time.

Sgt. Troy Christianson said, "It's real tough to prepare yourself when it's this cold but what we do is we have really good clothing so we just wear multiple layers and we try to be outside as little as possible but we just try to stay warm and wear multiple layers and just try not to think about how cold you actually are."

One way you can help paramedics is by clearing out your driveways and de-icing sidewalks to give first responders easier access to patients.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43170

Reported Deaths: 1548
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13790791
Ramsey5357237
Dakota278196
Stearns254919
Anoka2477114
Nobles16976
Washington132441
Olmsted131920
Mower9902
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Todd4042
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Lyon3592
Freeborn3160
Watonwan2720
Steele2661
Benton2433
St. Louis24116
Nicollet21212
Martin1765
Winona15315
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
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Otter Tail1211
Crow Wing11612
Pine1140
Chisago1121
McLeod1020
Dodge1000
Carlton960
Unassigned9238
Pipestone904
Polk893
Murray850
Isanti840
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Waseca800
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Morrison701
Becker690
Meeker661
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Brown512
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Fillmore380
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Rock350
Swift351
Houston320
Lincoln320
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Grant310
Roseau300
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Wilkin233
Cass212
Norman210
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
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Marshall160
Clearwater140
Pope140
Mahnomen131
Hubbard110
Stevens110
Lake90
Traverse80
Lac qui Parle60
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35769

Reported Deaths: 756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7663185
Woodbury336044
Black Hawk254459
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14938
Dallas142831
Linn141684
Scott112210
Marshall110519
Dubuque101623
Story8808
Pottawattamie84213
Wapello71531
Muscatine69745
Crawford6803
Sioux5150
Tama49029
Webster4395
Wright4021
Louisa36713
Jasper35917
Plymouth3545
Cerro Gordo3451
Warren3371
Dickinson3093
Washington2549
Hamilton2071
Boone1741
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1441
Allamakee1384
Shelby1210
Mahaska12017
Carroll1171
Franklin1170
Bremer1167
Poweshiek1118
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1032
Emmet990
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion850
Floyd842
Guthrie824
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Jackson720
Butler702
Osceola700
Sac690
Buchanan661
Calhoun662
Hancock631
Harrison630
Iowa631
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Lyon630
Fayette610
Humboldt611
Delaware571
Madison572
Lee542
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Palo Alto530
Mills520
Winneshiek521
Clayton513
Grundy480
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Kossuth430
Union420
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Lucas354
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