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Rural fire crews in Arkansas prepared to act in ice situations



Arkansas – Due to the fact that schools and offices were closed on Tuesday, many people were kept off the roads; however, emergency personnel have continued to react to calls for help.

“We want to be ready to respond. If there are any emergencies. We hope not. But we are ready to go,” West Pulaski Fire Department Fire Chief, Scott Joblin said.

Chief Joblin said that in preparation for the ice, he had chains on the tires.

“Without the chains on the ice, we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere,” Chief Joblin added.

All 60 of their volunteer firefighters, he added, had received prior instruction in how to drive in slippery circumstances.

“Obviously, if we can’t get to the emergency, we’re not any help. So we will be taking our time,” he described.

His main plea to the populace is to avoid using the roadways if at all possible.

“If in the event, we do have to respond. We don’t want to have to drive around you. And we don’t want you to be the emergency either,” he said.

In East End, the situation is the same.

Fire Chief Darrel Feagan noted that one of their major issues is navigating around other drivers.

“On an average day, we average under a 10-minute response time here in East End. But tonight, that will be an extended period of time,” Chief Feagan said.

It’s all hands on deck, he added, in a sarcastic manner.

“We will add extra staffing for the night. I don’t know how many just yet, but I’ll be here I’m sure my assistant chief will be here all night, and probably a couple others,” he said.

Chief Feagan noted that once winter weather arrives, highway 530 is frequently a trouble location.

“As traffic builds during this, I expect the calls to start,” he said.

Chief Joblin stated that he is also prepared for space heater fire calls, which are the most frequent fire calls throughout the winter.

“Obviously we want the people in our community to be safe. And if they need us, we will be there. Then I don’t want anyone to worry that we won’t be able to make it. We certainly will,” Chief Joblin said.

Chief Joblin also advised against using your kitchen stove or oven to heat your home and to keep generators away from it to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust if you do use one.

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