First responders set up emergency hub

By Anna Carrera

Published 01/06 2014 05:31PM

Updated 01/06 2014 05:35PM

URBANA -- Champaign County's first responders have been coordinating their efforts through the weekend. Some of their workers have been working around the clock for more than 30 hours now.

When weather like this hits, the people clearing the roads become just as important as the ones with the fire trucks and police cars. That's mostly because without public works and plow drivers, our traditional first responders wouldn't be able to get to their emergency calls.

Representatives from Champaign, Urbana, the University of Illinois and other county workers set up an emergency hub on Sunday. That way they could all be in close quarters to coordinate who needs to get sent out. The agencies are used to working together already. Sheriff Dan Walsh says they practice for situations like this year-round.

"We have the resources to handle things," said Walsh. "If the sheriff's office was down here alone and then we have to go find highway to see where they are, or an ambulance has to contact us, it all works together so much better this way."

At one point, Walsh says they paired up a plow or two with each first responder. Workers at the hub called people who had been stranded in their cars on Sunday to check up on them on Monday morning. The sheriff is in charge of the emergency hub. His advice for this weather: stay home. That way the other workers can get things cleared up quicker.

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