As the recent winter weather came through Christian County, leaving the roads in a dangerous state, Hopkinsville Fire Department and EMS calls saw an exponential increase over the last several days.
Despite that increase in call volume due to the weather, HFD received less calls than the department initially expected.
According to HFD Public Information Officer and Firefighter Payton Rogers, the department saw a significant increase in EMS calls, specifically for motor vehicle accidents.
For example, Rogers reported that on average, the department runs one motor vehicle collision per day, but over the last three days, HFD worked a total of nine collisions. Most of those were caused by the icy road conditions.
While most of the increases in calls are due to vehicle accidents, Rogers shared that EMS calls also increased due to people slipping on ice.
“With weather like this you always see an increase in motor vehicle accidents for sure and in EMS runs — people unfortunately slipping on ice and falls,” Rogers said.
“So, we’ve seen a little bit of an increase because of those reasons specifically, but Public Works has done a really good job of keeping the roads clear for us and keeping the motorists on the roads. While we’ve responded to a lot of accidents, it hasn’t been what we thought and I think that’s mostly due to them keeping the roads as clear as they can.”
Rogers continue to share that HFD has also responded to an increase in carbon monoxide alarms, because of residents keeping their homes warm during the freezing temperatures the county has seen over the last several days.
“Sometimes people forget that with built up snow, you want to clear all that snow from the appliance vents on the side of your home,” Rogers said as one of the reasons carbon monoxide alarms have increased during the cold weather.
“When snow builds up around those vents, it can sometimes back up and build up an increase of carbon monoxide in the home.”
Despite the increase in call volume in part due to those reasons, Rogers shared that HFD’s calls statistics are on track for what they were last year during the winter months and added that this year’s winter had been tame until the last week of snow fall.
“I think we people staying inside obviously our run volume goes down a bit, people aren’t taking risks unnecessarily,” Rogers said. “So, that’s kind of expected when snow hits, people want to be prepared before it hits. We’ve been pretty fortunate to not have the number of incidents that we were intending to possibly respond to.”
Rogers also explained that typically during the winter months the number of structure fires tend to increase as people are staying inside and using things like space heaters to warm their homes.
However, this winter, Rogers says the number of fire-related calls has been lower than usual.
According to Rogers and HFD, the department received zero calls for a residential or private dwelling fire over the last week.
“That’s obviously great considering the temps and weather,” Rogers said. “I think that goes back to people staying at home and paying attention.”
With that, however, Rogers and the fire department still wants to make sure everyone is safe during the cold, winter months and gave some safety do’s and don’ts to ensure nothing catastrophic happens to you, your family or your home.
Those tips are as follows:
- Make sure the appliance vents on the outside of the home are clear as having those vents covered can lead to carbon monoxide build up.
- Don’t plug space heaters into extension cords or plug more than one into a single outlet. Doing so can create a short in the outlet and can lead to an electrical fire.
- Keep space heaters away from anything combustible.
- Never use any open flames to heat your home as it can cause a fire.
- Never use a gas stove to heat your home as it can lead to carbon monoxide build up.
- Keep generators outside, away from windows and away from the home.
- When cooking, make sure to pay attention at all times and do not use water to put out a grease fire as it can make the fire spread quickly and aggressively.
For additional safety tips and general alerts, you can visit the Hopkinsville Fire/EMS Facebook page.