With the fourth largest snowfall in the City s history belting Pittsburgh with an additional 6 of snow on top of the two feet of snow already on the ground, Pittsburgh EMS teamed up with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard (PANG) and other EMS agencies throughout Allegheny County to combat the elements and respond to EMS calls.
The heavy snow crippled much of southwestern Pennsylvania, closing roadways and airports and leaving tens of thousands of people without electricity. But EMS kept on rolling.
According to Robert J. McCaughan, Chief of Pittsburgh s Emergency Medical Services (PEMS) activated seven additional ambulances to operate a total of 20 vehicles 24/7 and paired up five crews with PANG Humvee ambulances. Allegheny County EMS agencies also assisted under a mutual aid pact.
The Humvee ambulances deployed throughout Pittsburgh advanced as lead responders to enable PEMS/PANG crews to evaluate, treat and extricate patients from deep snow areas. The Humvee ambulances would then either rendezvous with PEMS unit staged nearby for patient transfer and transport by PEMS ambulance, or complete the transport and care of the patient in the Humvee ambulance.
PEMS also used three standard PANG Humvees as Rapid Response EMS units throughout the height of the snowstorm, with Allegheny County EMS agencies engaging the use of six Humvees.