(KFVS) - Emergency personnel in Illinois warn that going out in icy conditions doesn't only put you at risk, but also folks who need emergency assistance for reasons unrelated to weather.
Carterville EMT James Lawson says during most winter storms the number of calls they receive goes up, many due to car accidents and ground level falls.
However, response times are slower because of high call volume, and the actual travel time of responders.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this also puts the emergency crews at risk.
Vehicle death rates for emergency responders are almost five times higher than the national average.
"Don't go out unless you have to." Said Carterville EMT James Lawson on Thursday. "Or at least use best judgment with driving. Take it slow."
Lawson says the slower response times are the best case scenario if the roads are bad, because if an ambulance goes off the road due to ice on the way to a call, a neighboring jurisdiction has to be dispatched to not only the original call, but the disabled ambulance as well.
There are around 1,500 ambulance crashes every year, most of them at intersections or driveways.