Essential workers provide much needed care during winter weather

Preparation and precaution is needed during winter weather

By Cameron Bandy | Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO, Ark. – Business and public services are especially important during winter weather because crime and hunger don’t stop during extreme conditions. People need police, nurses and businesses like grocery stores to help them survive the cold.

   Winter weather pummeled Northeast Arkansas bringing an abundance of snow, sleet and freezing rain which caused multiple power outages and traveling issues. Inclement weather prompted many businesses like Pak Mail, Cracker Barrel, Jets Transit and surrounding schools to close. Police Officers, nurses and grocery stores are necessities in cold weather and must stay open to assist the public. These professions don’t get the choice of staying home.  

   Bill Brown has worked as a police officer 14 years on patrol and is now a detective for the department. Winter weather can be a struggle for police officers and preparation for any type of weather is important.

   Brown said, “When it gets closer to fall, officers will get prepared by getting their cold-weather gear out.  The cold-weather gear is different for different officers.  Mine consists of thermal layers to keep in my vehicle along with gloves, thermal beanie, coat and HotHands hand warmers.  I will also keep a blanket or two just in case I have a call where people are stuck in the weather, till they’re able to get back indoors.”

I will also keep a blanket or two just in case I have a call where people are stuck in the weather, till they’re able to get back indoors.”

– JPD Detective Bill Brown

   Brown expressed the importance that all officers should become acclimated to all weather conditions. At any time of the year, officers have no idea what the next call will be or how long they will be in the elements with the number one goal of providing safety. 

Being prepared for the weather is part of the officers’ responsibility. During winter weather accidents, officers will do what they can to keep the drivers warm and dry. Some calls might be to direct traffic at an accident scene where the temperature is cold while containing many forms or precipitation, or out looking for a lost juvenile or an elderly patient that walked away from the nursing home.

   Hanna Koons is a respiratory therapist at St. Bernards Hospital and has been for about 15 years. Hospitals are essential for those needing medical assistance during car accidents, the current pandemic and with helping other medical emergencies.

   Koons said, “Generally, falls and wrecks are the most reported incidents in snowy weather.”

   During winter weather, the hospital allows all staff to use rooms that are available to sleep if they’re not comfortable driving home during winter weather. Koons expressed the importance of getting to work during winter weather, “With the option of staying at the hospital, there is no excuse not to make it to work, she said.” Medical emergencies don’t stop during winter weather, so doctors and nurses can’t either.

“With the option of staying at the hospital, there is no excuse not to make it to work, she said.”

– Respiratory Therapist Hanna Koons, St. Bernards Hospital

   Danny Phillips has been an asset manager at Walmart on Parker Road for nearly eight years. Grocery stores must stay open because people must be able to get groceries in case of weather-related emergencies like the 2009 ice storm that left many residents without power for weeks. People always rush to grocery stores to pick up the usual milk and bread along with other necessities; so, these stores must be prepared.

   Phillips said, “we try to keep pallets out of customer’s way” to have efficiency as people shop for what they need. Safety is the main concern of grocery stores as they have an influx of people preparing for the storm.

 “The rugs get cleaned during rain and we have a snow-removal contract with a landscape company that helps clear the parking lot for customers,” he said.

   Preparation and efficiency for businesses and public services are vital to helping the public prepare for extreme weather. Without police, nurses and important businesses, people couldn’t survive, especially if an accident, injury or lack of food impacted someone. These professions can’t call into work because of road conditions or weather because they help others survive.