<em>Poulsbo Fire Department’s Station 77 under a blanket of snow.</em>
                                Photo courtesy Poulsbo Fire Department, Doug Seitz

Poulsbo Fire Department’s Station 77 under a blanket of snow. Photo courtesy Poulsbo Fire Department, Doug Seitz

Amid storm, Poulsbo Fire Department carries on

With record-setting snowfall has also come a spike in calls for emergency services in Poulsbo.

Jody Matson, a spokesperson for the Poulsbo Fire Department, said crews responded to about double the usual storm-related calls in recent days.

“Monday, by the time the second storm hit, a lot more people were venturing out and a lot more calls were coming in,” Matson said. “We were prepared, having increased our staffing and available units.”

Crews responded to some 25 calls on Monday, Matson explained, half of which were storm-related.

“Firefighters ended up fixing four sets of chains that had broken by the end of the shift. Our four-wheel-drive medic units and command unit responded to the poor road conditions, but response time was a bit slower than usual,” Matson said. One engine that was chained up lost traction on a hill, sliding at slow speed into a curb, and became stuck.”

Firefighters, assisted by the Poulsbo Police Department, were able to eventually clear enough snow and ice and free the engine, after about 45 minutes without any damage to the vehicle other than a broken set of snow chains.

Matson noted that it wasn’t the only time that crews found themselves stuck in the snow that day.

“There were a couple of other times when units got briefly stuck in the snow, but nothing the crew couldn’t quickly remedy.”

Tuesday, Matson said, also saw higher than usual call volumes, including “a small structural collapse, a broken water main that affected 70 homes, and a few power line issues. At one point, our engine had to turn around on Bond Road because of a downed tree.”

Matson pointed to a capital bond which has allowed for the department to continue to provide swift emergency response despite the tough winter conditions.

“The capital bond allowed us to purchase medic units with four-wheel-drive,” Matson said. “Our command car and extra staff cars also have four-wheel drive and with the extra staffing [recently] firefighters drove the extra staff car to accompany the medic unit on medical emergency calls, in case there was a difficult driveway.”

— Nick Twietmeyer is the interim editor of the North Kitsap Herald, you can reach Nick at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com.

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