Stay off the roads, B.C. paramedics urge after snow storm

With the snow storm in Metro Vancouver creating massive travel delays from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning, B.C.’s paramedics are asking people to stay home if they don’t need to go out.

The president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC, Troy Clifford, tells CityNews his staff said it was slow going in parts of the Lower Mainland overnight.

“The roads and the people out there that may not be as prepared, or don’t have the skills or the proper tires to maneuver in these conditions and anything like that can obviously [increase] delays in getting to calls,” he explained.

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Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley were blanketed in snow beginning Tuesday afternoon. Highways and major arterials ended up being clogged with stalled and abandoned vehicles after drivers found themselves stuck in the middle of roadways.

Clifford says some of his staff were reporting the worst delays around Surrey, especially on the bridges and side streets where plowing is often less consistent.

“I talked to some of our dispatchers, and it was it was proving problematic, particularly around getting in and out of Surrey or the Tri Cities areas,” he said. “There definitely was the extended delays, and getting the calls that were farther apart or farther through the conditions. [But there was] nothing specific that had dire outcomes that I’ve heard about, which is good.”

Ambulances in B.C. are all equipped with winter tires, which are rotated regularly, he adds. Clifford notes now that the roads are more cleared, ambulances are able to get to calls more easily, although he says side streets and hills still present challenges.

“People have definitely stayed home a little bit. … Some of those six, eight hour experiences they had getting home over the bridges and to Surrey yesterday really made people reevaluate whether they should be working today or traveling.”

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