Be rest assured that rain or snow, first responders are ready to - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Be rest assured that rain or snow, first responders are ready to go

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KENNEWICK, WA - While this winter weather might be fun to play around in, it's been tough for drivers and busy for the people who take care of those drivers when they find themselves in trouble.

Reporter Kristina Shalhoup spoke to some of our local first responders about how they manage to prepare themselves for the high number of accident calls that come in during snowy spells like this one.

Whether you're pulling into a parking lot or driving out on the highway, with this much snow on the ground you have to be extra careful behind the wheel.

"Increase your following distance," said Battalion Chief Mikal Barnett with Kennewick Fire Station #2. "It's gonna take longer to get where you're going so leave earlier and don't try to push it."

But even then, accidents are still bound to happen.

"There's just more unfortunate circumstances," Chief Barnett said. "It's just icy outside, so even if you're in a 4-wheel drive, or have snow tires, it's still gonna be slick and difficult to stop."

So far today, Washington State Patrol has had 49 accidents called into their dispatch between Yakima and the Tri-Cities, and that number doesn't even include accidents on city streets.

"This morning it was pretty busy, I think we went on eight calls this morning," said Chief Barnett. "I had three or four separate rollover accidents. Some people were transported. None of them resulted in significant injuries."

But the good news is that first responders were prepared for the high number of calls before this winter weather even came into question.

"We've got call-in folks that we can get back in a hurry if we need to," Chief Barnett said. "We also have, our vehicles are all chained up today. Normally we don't have them chained up unless there's some significant snow on the ground."

They'll have to drive a little slower...

"We have to get there safely. It's much better for us to arrive safely than to not arrive at all," Chief Barnett said.

But you can be rest assured that if you find yourself in a pinch out on the roads, rain or snow, you'll get the help you need.

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