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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Published: 1/7/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Safety crews take extra precautions in storm

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Even the soon-to-be Toledo police officers got a snow day.

The Toledo Police Academy was closed on Monday because of the snow and cold, and the training officers were assigned to help their fellow patrolmen respond to calls, said Sgt. Joe Heffernan.

Sorry, cadets. There's a catch: The missed day at the academy has to be made up.

Public-safety employees took extra precautions to stay safe so they can keep everyone else safe, officials said.

Toledo Fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld said the department planned to distribute information to incoming crews to make sure they considered the wind chill and sub-freezing temperatures while getting ready to go to work today.

Weather like this “really makes a tough job just brutal in this sub-zero weather,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.

Each firefighter is equipped with a “ditty bag” that has extra clothing — socks, shirts, gloves, and a hood — in case their gear gets wet while responding to a call.

Sometimes even getting to calls can prove challenging.

Sunday night, an ambulance at Matlack and Marne avenues got stuck in the snow.

A plow was on its way to help dig out the ambulance, which had a patient on board, when neighbors came out and managed to push the vehicle free, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.

Several other emergency vehicles were stuck in the snow on Sunday night or Monday morning, though none reportedly affected service.

When crews were dispatched, a plow truck was sent ahead to make sure the route was clear.

“There was a convoy of rigs following the plow truck,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said. “It really helped when we needed it.”

Police officers had a difficult time getting around the city when snow was heaviest, but no officers reported major problems that got in the way of responding to an emergency, Sergeant Heffernan said.

To make sure there were enough officers on the streets, those who worked their normal 8 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday shifts were held over a couple hours. The Monday afternoon shift was brought in early, at 10:30 a.m., the sergeant said.

“It's better to be on the safe side and have enough officers available in case there's an emergency rather than put citizens at risk,” Sergeant Heffernan said.

Early Monday, Sgt. Phil Toney took an unmarked police sport utility vehicle to pick up at least two officers who were having trouble getting to work, Sergeant Heffernan said. Detectives were also asked to bring their street uniforms in case additional help was needed.

Sergeant Heffernan reported no major issues and said Chief William Moton was “very pleased with how things are going so far. He wants to thank the citizens for their overall compliance.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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