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Snowy back roads impacting time for local first responders

“Our response times are definitely more lengthy than usual,” said Brian Kazmierzak, Chief of Training Penn Township Fire Dept.

Our local first responders could take longer than expected to get to an emergency. After the heavy snowfall over the last week and a half, neighborhood and subdivision roads are some of the last plow crews are cleaning up slowing down our emergency crews.

“Sometimes up to double just because we have to considerably cut our speed down,” said Kazmierzak.

The reason? The city says most back roads are plowed after bypasses and main roads are taken care of.

“I haven’t seen a subdivision yet that’s really in decent shape. Even where I live, if I didn’t have four wheel drive to get in and out of my sub division, I don’t think there’s any way I could get out,” said Kazmierzak.

Chief Kazmierzak says it might not look much different than past winters…

“I think it’s just the amount of snow we got in such a short period of time, it makes things a lot more difficult to get around,” said Kazmierzak.

But 9 days and approximately 28 inches of snow later, the accumulation has built up a headache for his crews.

“If we have a fire in there and we’re trying to get trucks past each other and we’re down to one lane, that’s where it really makes things difficult for us,” said Kazmierzak.

So until streets crews make it to those neighborhood and subdivision roads, they’re depending on the heat of the sun to do the job.

“Until the snow starts to melt off and they can get the secondary and roads cleared then it’s going to be a while before we have easy access,” said Kazmierzak.

Chief Kazmierzak wants to emphasize to drivers that slowing down and pulling over is everyone’s best bet given the icy roads.

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