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Riding with Engine 16: Double parked vehicles on DC's snow covered streets slows responses.

By Surae Chinn, WUSA9.com:

A week after the latest snow storm and things are hardly back to normal. The piled up snow is not only causing trouble for you but also first responders.

Engine Company 16 is one of the busiest in DC.

Firefighter David Goldsmith says, “The snow is making it much worse.”

Frustration is mounting just as the snow piles up on the side of the road, causing an obstacle course for drivers. People who ignore the sirens is constant. Lanes are reduced because of snow. Firefighters and EMS technicians are handling stretchers over snow packed curbs.

Goldsmith says, “The lanes blocked by snow or parked cars and the road conditions aren’t that good, yeah the snow makes a dramatic impact.”

DC Engine 16 RAL

Engine Company 16 went on a call Monday night that came to a complete stop because a delivery truck parked in the middle of the lane.

A firefighter had to get out and tell him to move. The delivery truck driver told the firefighter to give him a second. Firefighters say that’s an example of people not understanding the gravity of the emergency. It put their response time back at least one minute.

Luckily the call turned out to be an automatic fire alarm that accidentally went off.

Goldsmith says, “If it was a structure fire or a cardiac arrest call, it could’ve made a huge impact on the outcome of the situation to wait for a guy to move his truck.”

Captain Richard Zegowitz says, “It could mean life or death.”

Throughout DC, cars are parked illegally, forcing delivery trucks to double park and making ladder trucks park farther from the curb.

Goldsmith says, “It’s really frustrating. I can’t explain it. It’s frustrating when circumstances on the street delay your response time getting to someone who needs your help. In our job, minutes count.”

Firefighters are holding their breath for Tuesday when everyone in DC is back for the first full day since the last storm. That includes DC workers and students.

They say response time has more than doubled. What use to take two minutes may now take four minutes to respond.

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