Chocowinity EMS captain believes in being prepared

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018


CHOCOWINITY — With rising temperatures and weather emergencies at bay for the time being, local first responders are settling back into a more predictable routine.

“We were still dealing with some ice Monday afternoon and into Tuesday,” said Shane Grier, Chocowinity EMS captain. “But it’s a whole lot better than it was.”

In fact, firefighters, paramedics and others were able to catch their breath for the first time in days, Grier added.

“But now we have to clean up all the equipment and trucks and go back to the usual day-to-day operations,” he said.

Preparations for last week’s snowstorm began several days in advance.

“We did a lot of planning as far as adding equipment and we got extra staff in,” Grier noted. “A lot of the time we staff the building here too, which we did during this storm. We also check equipment, fuel … things like that.”

This attention to detail served EMS well.

“Between Jan. 3 and Jan. 8, we had about 30 calls, ranging from wrecks to a house fire to falls and medical crises,” Grier said. “We were called out to several wrecks within a period of five minutes.”

Chocowinity EMS is responsible for an area much larger than the town itself, according to Grier.

“We go from the Pitt County line to the Craven County line, to Cox’s Crossroads and to the Washington bridge,” he said. “That’s a big coverage area.”

Weather conditions throw a huge wrench into what would normally be routine calls.

“During storms like this one, we’re running our lights but sometimes we can only go 20 miles per hour if there’s a lot of snow and ice on the roads,” Grier said. “That means an extended period for us to get to you and an extended ride to the hospital. We had a rescue truck stuck on the bridge during this storm for about an hour because of ice.”

During the next weather event, and surely there will be one, Grier advises local resident to exercise extreme caution.

“If you don’t have to travel, stay home,” he said. “Be a little more ready than most people are for a storm; make sure you have plenty of food and water. I’m really big on preparing for a snowstorm or other weather event.”