Is the Wando Bridge Backup Slowing Down First Responders?

May 16, 2018, 8:57 am EST | Share:

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (BILL BURR, WTAT-TV) — Some folks are wondering what the Wando Bridge lane closure means for first responders. Will it affect the time they arrive to an emergency?

“We’re getting a call right now,” said Carl Fehr who was ready to respond to his next medical emergency call while driving in Mt. Pleasant.

“Incident assigned. Proceed to route,” said the electronic voice.

“So we do have the lights on, and I’ll turn the sirens on in just a second,” Fehr said.

Along the frontage road of Jonnie Dodds Boulevard, this is how the division chief for Charleston County EMS navigates the busy route.

“See these people pulling to the right? Slowing down. Kind of moving out of the way. That’s what we’re absolutely looking for out of cars,” he said.

Fehr said these drivers are paying attention.

“But unfortunately not everybody does that. Not everybody hears what we’re doing,” he said.

The partial closure of the Wando Bridge means much more traffic East of the Cooper. And more challenges for emergency medical technicians.

“We get a lot of people that will either pull to the left or just come to a stop in front of us. Not yielding any kind of right-of-way for us. So that we’re just sitting there stuck,” Fehr said.

That’s why first responders like Carl Fehr remind drivers to pay attention, especially during the partial bridge closure.

“We all have to be patient. We all have to take our time and look out for one another,” he said.

Charleston County EMS handles an average of 150 calls a day. With the closure of the westbound lanes of the Wando Bridge, emergency medical technicians are using modified operations. That means taking patients to the nearest hospitals East of the Cooper.

Fehr says Charleston County EMS is working with Mt. Pleasant Police Department and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office to make sure enough EMTs are placed in strategic positions. They want to make sure first responders are easily accessible while traffic volume is high.