Calgary

Snowy weather leads to code red in Calgary

Snowy conditions Thursday morning meant a heavy workload for Calgary paramedics attending to car crashes and medical emergencies, which led to a code red for 25 minutes — meaning there were no ambulances available to respond to calls.

No ambulances were available for 25-minute period Thursday morning

Calgary was under a 'code red' for 25 minutes on Thursday morning, between 9:40 and 10:05 a.m. (David Bell/CBC)

Snowy conditions Thursday morning meant a heavy workload for Calgary paramedics attending to car crashes and medical emergencies, which led to a code red for 25 minutes — meaning there were no ambulances available to respond to calls.

"This pressure impacts all parts of our health-care system, including EMS," said public education officer Adam Loria in an email. "However, we have processes in place to ensure that anyone who needs emergent care will receive it."

The red alert lasted from 9:40 to 10:05 a.m.

Between 8 a.m. and noon, there were 118 calls to 911 for EMS, much higher than the 85 that would usually be seen, said Loria.

"Additional staff and ambulances were being brought on shift throughout the morning to address increased need," he said.

"It's important to note that these extremely high-demand situations usually last a very short amount of time and, even in the busiest times, EMS still responds to all emergencies to provide patient care."

Calgary police say between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. there were 93 crashes reported, with 11 involving injury.

Loria offered tips to avoid falling when walking in winter weather:

  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed.
  • Point your feet out slightly like a penguin.
  • Keep your centre of gravity over your feet as much as possible.
  • Watch where you are stepping.
  • Take shorter, shuffle-like steps.
  • Keep your arms at your sides (not in your pockets).
  • Concentrate on keeping your balance.
  • Go S-L-O-W-L-Y.

Calgary and much of southern Alberta was under a snowfall warning from Environment Canada on Thursday morning, with 20 centimetres expected in the city by Friday morning.

Visibility is also reduced due to blowing snow, and a number of travel advisories have been issued for highways. Additional travel information can be found online.

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