Emergency services, road and winter weather guide for East Lansing

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Brendan Schabath

East Lansing Fire Department Capt. Jim Ladiski says the snow “does add a few seconds to a minute to response times . . . Our trucks are pretty big though, they do pretty well.” Here is one on a campus run Wednesday.

Heavy snowfall began early Wednesday morning as forecasters predicted as much as 6 inches to blanket East Lansing – interrupting an uncharacteristically tame Michigan winter. Representatives of the East Lansing Fire Department and East Lansing Public Works are confident in the city’s ability to respond to the mid- winter whiteout.

“We have to drive slower be extra cautious,” said fire department Capt. Jim Ladiski. “It does add a few seconds to a minute to response times . . . Our trucks are pretty big though, they do pretty well” in the snow. While response times are quick, the fire department still wants residents to take care while heating their homes. Safety tips regarding heating and more can be found on their website. 

Ladiski advises residents to clear snow from their walkways and fire hydrants as soon as possible. He recalls multiple situations where precious minutes were wasted as emergency response teams were forced to shovel their way in or out of someone’s home. Fire hydrants can be covered easily by snowplows. Ladiski says searching for a hydrant is incredibly time consuming. 

Winter weather creates dangerous road conditions. The U.S Department of Transportation says 33,000 crashes and 440 fatalities occurred in 2019 due to wintry weather. While many Michigan drivers may feel confident in their winter driving ability, the safest thing to do is stay home. The DOT website advises drivers to postpone or cancel trips in extreme winter weather until road conditions improve. Safety tips for necessary travel can be found at their website. 

East Lansing Public Works has been plowing main roads such as Grand River, Michigan, Saginaw and Abbot since 4:30 this morning. Infrastructure Administrator Ron Lacasse says public works will transfer to residential streets when the snowfall subsides, which he expects to occur around midnight. 

Residents should know that they are responsible for clearing both their driveways and the sidewalks adjacent to their properties. This includes snow pushed from the road by city snowplows. Information regarding damaged property resulting from plows, snow removal responsibilities, and road clearing can be found on the public works website

For emergencies, dial 911.

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