Tuesday, Jan.6, 2015. When we still lived in Abbotsford I sometimes felt a yearning to experience another Hedley winter. I credit my Mom with giving me that desire. She loved snow.
The past two days my wish has been abundantly granted. Of course, with the snow has come a considerable amount of shovelling. Sunday evening I moved about 6 inches off the driveway and the path to the storage shed and the Hen House. Yesterday snow fell well into the afternoon. More opportunity to shovel. Linda joined me this time.
Last night a plow made a token appearance in town. A few streets were cleared but in some cases a high ridge was left across streets. If those ridges are allowed to harden, we may see some ripped off mufflers scattered around town.
During the night a senior lady called 911, saying she had fallen and couldn’t get up. An ambulance was dispatched from Princeton. In the meantime the Hedley Fire Department received word of this emergency and two Fire Fighters and one First Responder hurried to the home. Because of the deep snow, the ambulance could not get close enough to the home and they called Mike Jacobs who lives nearby on the local reserve. Mike came immediately with his ATV and cleared the snow.
The paramedics got the lady on her feet and wanted to take her to the Princeton hospital. She decided she was now ok and elected not to go.
The two fire fighters returned to the Fire Hall and shortly received a call from the paramedics. One of their tire chains had broken and was stuck between the duels, making a loud knocking sound that concerned them. The Fire Fighters went to assist but when it was not possible to extract the chain, they summoned a tow truck. It was now Coffee Time at the Seniors’ Centre and the fire fighters went there to warm up. They expressed a lot of respect for the professionalism and dedication of the paramedics.
This incident points out one of the issues people in Hedley mention frequently. Other than the Fire Department’s First Responder service, we have no medical help readily available. In extreme adverse weather conditions, medical aid might not be available for several days, except possibly by helicopter. In 2014 a rock slide cut off access to the hospital in Penticton. The alternate routes, Nickel Plate Mountain Rd. and the Princeton- Summerland Highway take much longer and are vulnerable in bad weather. Also, had this particular emergency been on Hospital Hill (so called because Hedley had a hospital here many years ago in its boom time) even Mike’s ATV might not have been able to clear the street.
We are fortunate that our Fire Department is well organized and there is regular updating of skills. Often it is our first line of defense in an emergency.