2010 Disaster In NYC Led To Many Changes In EMS, OEM Blueprint

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a guy who tries to learn from his mistakes, and there’s no question he doesn’t want to see a repeat of the big blizzard of December 2010, when ambulances and fire trucks got stuck in the snow and there was a backlog of 1,400 emergency calls.

“We’re ready for anything,” Bloomberg said Friday as possibly the biggest snowstorm since that one three years ago barreled into and through the Tri-State Area.

One big difference this time around is the city’s Emergency Medical Services has a new bag of tricks and they showed some of them to CBS 2, because they don’t want to see a repeat of 2010, when there was a three-hour wait to get a crew to critical calls like heart attacks.

“We’ve provided portable shovels for the crew in case they get stuck. If they’re able to get themselves out they use these directly,” EMS Division Chief Jonathan Pistilli said.

But it’s not just the portable shovels for digging out of a snow bank. Each ambulance now has snow chains, and a new device called a “sked,” a special stretcher that is more like a sled. As EMTs John Cadotte and Adma Stern showed CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer, you can easily pull a patient across an unplowed street.

“If a patient is on a tertiary road that hasn’t been plowed the ambulance will park down the block so it doesn’t get stuck. The crew has top walk all the way down the block, long distance to bring patient back and can used the sked to get over the snow,” Pistilli said.

And as for all those cars that got stuck in the snow last time, stopping plows and first responders, the mayor’s message is fuhgeddaboudit. He’s got a plow task force that will tow your car out, at your own expense, of course.

All that said, the mayor still has one big worry.

“My biggest concern is that people go out, walk, slip, fall into traffic with low visibility, and high winds that somebody turns a corner and the car doesn’t see a pedestrian,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor had some good news for drivers. He said there’s no gas shortage, so there’s no need for drivers to line up to get extra fuel.

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