Greater Victoria emergency crews are digging out and chaining up, and hope the rest of the region will follow suit.
With 23 centimetres of snow recorded at the Victoria International Airport Tuesday morning – and snow still falling in some areas – emergency services are adjusting their vehicles to the weather.
“All BC Emergency Health Services ambulances are prepared to drive in wintery conditions and carry chains, with crews trained to install them as road conditions require,” said BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS). “Because BCEHS is a provincial service, this is true whether the ambulance is stationed in Merritt or Sooke.
“We know winter conditions can make it difficult; however, we continue to navigate snowy and icy roads as safely as possible,” BCEHS added. “Our goal is to arrive as quickly as possible while protecting the safety of our patients, the public and our employees – this is paramount for us.”
Sgt. Julie Fast, the Saanich Police Department’s public relations officer, said the department’s vehicles are well-equipped for winter weather.
All front line vehicles have mud and snow tires on and chains are available for all vehicles.
So far, Fast said there have been enough officers to adequately handle call volumes over the last few snowy days.
“There’s always enough resources out there regardless if it’s snowing or not,” she said. “If resourcing requires it, we can call people in and we can add personnel.”
“We all support each other. There’s always a possibility too that we can have a mutual aid situation where maybe we need some resources from one of our neighbouring agencies to assist.”
Our police cars are all equipped with snow tires & some even have chains, yet driving for us is still tricky in this weather. If you don't see a snowflake or M+S (Mud + Snow) stamped on your tire, then you are ill-equipped for driving today. Please stay home! #wintertires pic.twitter.com/V1dRqKbuwE
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) February 11, 2019
Shout out to all @CityOfVictoria Public Works crews working day and night to keep our roads safe. Amazing job! Your work is allowing @vicpdcanada officers the ability to respond to emergency calls. Thanks! pic.twitter.com/JH3zMOA7rx
— Del Manak (@ChiefManak) February 11, 2019
While the local dispatch centre has not seen an increase in driving incidents, it has noted that many people are not prepared for the current weather conditions.
Paramedics are reminding residents, particularly those unaccustomed to snowy conditions, to make sure they are prepared if they are heading out. Some tips include dressing for the weather; ensuring your vehicle has winter tires, enough fuel and lots of wiper fluid; and if there’s a choice, consider delaying travel.
The best way to help paramedics as they navigate the snowy city? Clear sidewalks and driveways, and make sure your house number is visible, particularly on dark nights.