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When seconds count, snowstorms can slow down first responders, especially in rural Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) — Road conditions during winter storms can be a challenge for drivers, but also for first responders when called in an emergency.

On Thursday, a 76-year-old man was trapped after overturning his vehicle in a creek east of Lincoln, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.

He spent about 20 minutes in the water before he was able to get out.

The sheriff’s office said road conditions may have played a role in the crash, but also made rescue a challenge.

“It’s hard to get there,” Sheriff Terry Wagner said. “It is difficult to get to the scene and then get the firefighters to come and take care of the medical problems. It only increases the difficulty.

And it can be especially challenging in rural areas.

“We’re prepared in the sense that we have equipment to help extricate someone from that water as soon as possible,” said Bennett Fire Chief Tim Norris.

But concern for rural and volunteer departments during freezing temperatures can give a quick answer.

“The biggest concern would be how quickly we can get them into a warm space and get them warm and dry as soon as possible,” Norris said.

He said the department has equipment to rescue people from cars driving into ditches or small bodies of water.

But for more serious water and ice rescues, Bennett and other rural departments have to rely on larger departments like Lincoln.

“Departments that have ice rescue teams or are going to build them, they need to get special suits, special equipment,” Norris said. “But for someone to do that, they actually have to be trained and certified.”

Tags: Bennet Fire and Rescue, Creek crash, Eagle man, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Nebraska Rural Fire Departments, road conditions, rural fire department, snow rescue, water rescue, weather conditions, winter accidents

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