Austin first responders tell horrific stories of calls made during the winter storm
So many calls came in during last week’s winter storm that some requests for help went unanswered.
Austin, Texas – – Austin medics and firefighters saved hundreds of people who had frozen to death in their homes during last week’s winter storm.
However, so many calls were received that some inquiries went unanswered.
Once the streets in Austin were covered in snow and temperatures were in the single digits, thousands of homes across the city lost electricity. It was the first responders who then responded to the desperate requests from the ward for help.
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“It’s been the most stressful thing of my life and I’m a 35-year-old battalion chief in the Austin Fire Department,” said Bob Nicks, president of the Austin Firefighters Association.
“It’s been a life-changing experience. I’ve heard from so many medical professionals that it was the worst change in their life,” said Selena Xie, president of the Austin EMS Association.
The Austin-Travis County Ambulance Service responded to people without electricity who were trying to survive without an oxygen tank or to cancer patients in severe pain who had no access to medication.
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“Some people were unable to take prescription refills, couldn’t get the medical treatment they needed, such as dialysis. So we’ve had a lot of people who started to suffer because they weren’t able to Get the medication they needed. ” they need, “said Xie.
Xie explained how one caller reported that a loved one had died in his home. 911 could not send resources because the emergency services were too busy to save lives. Selena had to tell the caller that her only immediate option was to take the body anywhere herself.
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“It just makes no sense to me that in America it makes sense to tell someone to put a dead person in your own vehicle and drive them to a funeral home because we don’t have the resources we have that is how I was.” I just think about it and do this in Austin and imagine that maybe I do this two weeks ago or now and it just seems like it’s a nightmare, “Xie said.
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Nicks said he received more than 400 calls for help after offering his personal cell phone number to those who couldn’t reach the fire department. “They couldn’t get through to 911 and they couldn’t get through to 311 and they were literally starving and freezing in their homes,” Nicks said.
Nicks said firefighters who were on their fifth straight shift volunteered to take in people in need.
“We took in paraplegics and people with paraplegics who were stuck in different places and took them to their caretakers. We were able to get a 97-year-old woman who had been on an iceberg for five days without food, water or heat, and we took her to her granddaughter. So I could tell you 100 stories like this, “said Nicks.
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Mayor Adler tells FOX 7 this will be a long road.
Even now that the snow has melted, the events of last week continue to affect the lives of first responders in Austin, the people who saved them and those who couldn’t.
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“I had nightmares about the people I had to turn down that day because we just didn’t have the bandwidth to see them. And I can still hear the phone go off in my head and the same thing will happen to this one Folks. I was lucky, I didn’t freeze or starve, “said Nicks.