First responders battle Mother Nature in soggy weather - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

First responders battle Mother Nature in soggy weather

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Many area roads remain closed Monday due to high waters and flood damage. First responders remain busy due to the heavy rain and flooding in the Tennessee Valley. Some roadways are covered in water, and blocked traffic signs comes the potential for delayed response times.

Throughout the area it is taking first responders a few extra minutes to respond to calls while navigating closed road ways and assisting crews busy in other districts. Although minimal-- those few extra minutes are vital in transporting people to local hospitals.

“Poor road conditions and flooded roads, it can make for a little bit of chaos,” said Allan Kotecki.  Paramedics with Hamilton County driving in the heavy rain comes with heightened alertness. “Work with it. You can't drive faster than the road is going to let you drive.”

 After record rain fall throughout the Tennessee Valley emergency crews are experiencing minor delays. First responders say street closures throughout the area could potentially impact response times. “The ambulance unfortunately doesn't have a superman cape on that is immune to standing water or getting stuck or bogged down.”

Detours to get to residential calls slow things down. “Slow down more than usual. Make sure we are always watching a little more vigilant that we normally are,” said Paramedic Alberto Gutierrez. Crews say they have protocols in place for when flooding becomes an issue. “Usually alternate routes we take. Working for the county, we know the roads pretty well. Which roads are flooded which way we can go.”

However, no matter what type of Fight Mother nature puts up for these crews they have one goal in mind, keeping your loved ones out of harm’s way.

“Drive as fast as the road condition will let you. Sometimes that is a lot slower than what you would like to do, but what you have to do to get there safely,” said Kotecki.

Crews want to remind drivers it is state law to pull right for emergency crews with their lights on. Tennessee’s “move-over” law creates a safety zone to protect police, firefighters and other emergency personnel. A new revision expands the existing law by adding utility service equipment to the list of vehicles for which motorists are required to either slow down or move over.

Police and fire crews continue to monitor flooded streets. They are mapping alternative routes to ensure the fastest response times. 

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