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Heavy Fog Leads to Longer Response Times for 9-1-1 Calls

Many times Mercy Flights chooses not to activate an ambulance's emergency mode in foggy weather. It depends on a call's priority level and weather conditions.

Posted: Nov. 14, 2017 6:16 PM
Updated: Nov. 14, 2017 6:19 PM

MEDFORD, Ore.- The drivers at Mercy Flights have to consider all road hazards when driving to a call, especially in fog when flashing lights could be a distraction and not visible to other drivers.

Weather can impact how quickly help can get to you in an emergency. This mornings fog forced an ambulance to slow down for the safety of the crew and other drivers.

Rodney Blake, Flight Supervisor with Mercy Flights says, "We are going to try to get to you and the emergency as fast as possible. The first responders that we work with and mercy flights our goal is to get to you but we want to get to you safely."

Based on the call's priority, the emergency response has to meet a pre-determined time limit. If the road conditions make that time frame impossible to meet, EMT's will downgrade the call's priority.

Blake says, "Anytime we have any type of hazardous road conditions whether it be rain snow or ice or fog. The main thing for us is it just slows our response down."

Mercy Flights say many ambulances will downgrade calls during dangerous weather conditions including heavy fog.
That includes shutting off the lights and sirens.

Blake says, "In a fog condition where they have reduced visibility with all the red lights and sirens and flashing it creates more of a hazard than it does for us to try and get there fast. So we shut down the lights and sirens and move to a normal response so we can move safer and get to the patient."

Mercy Flights says one way to help them get to patients faster is to be hyper-aware of road conditions and drive slower in bad weather. 

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