First responders feeling effects of snow storms

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — With another winter storm on its way, some first responders say they’re having trouble keeping up.

While first responders are always ready to answer the call, this year’s barrage of winter weather has left some emergency crews fatigued and scrambling to stay ahead of the snow.

But they say it won’t stop them from getting the job done.

“In the event of a fire or something like that, we will be there. It’s just a matter of when,” Williamsport Bureau of Fire Lieutenant Kenny Smith said.

With northeastern and central Pennsylvania in the crosshairs of a second winter storm this week, first responders are once again standing by.

Columbia County EMA director Jennifer Long says despite the busy winter, it’s part of the job.

“This is what I signed up to do. So it’s like, the hits keep on coming and you keep taking them one at a time, and get through them and move on,” Long said.

In Williamsport, a second winter storm this week has Smith admittedly exhausted.

“We’re human. We end up with sore backs and sore arms just like everybody else. So yeah, it can be taxing,” Smith said.

Smith says failing to keep pace with the snow and ice makes routine tasks like digging out a hydrant that much more difficult.

“Our guys have to cover the whole storm. So if the storm goes for a day and a half or two days, our guys are plowing snow for 24, 36 hours straight,” City of Williamsport streets foreman Jim O’Brien said.

A situation which forces them to pull manpower from other departments, like parks and flood control, but leaves no room for error.

“Then you have everybody, we’re only 26 strong. So then, you have everyone on board. So, everybody’s here going for hours and hours if it’s a big storm,” O’Brien said.

All the first responders Eyewitness News spoke with stressed that any help the general public can provide, especially when it comes to digging out hydrants, clearing driveways and not blowing snow back out onto streets, can make a huge difference.

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