When and when not to call emergency crews as Indiana continues to receive heavy snowfall

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As the Wabash Valley prepares for the biggest snowfall it’s seen in nearly six years, dispatchers say they’re ready for calls they’re about to receive. However, they do stress the importance of knowing when it’s appropriate to call.

According to Rob Gambill, director of the Clay County Emergency Management, they see a lot of accident related calls.

“We have accidents that are caused by overconfidence of the vehicle, people have a lot of four wheel drive and all wheel drive vehicles. But, they have to understand they are not impervious to the elements or damages,” Gambill said.

If a driver was to slide off the road, there are important protocols to follow to make sure help is dispatched.

“The very first thing we want you to do is activate your emergency lights and then dial 9-11. We can get the assistance to you as quickly as possible. You need to let dispatchers know what type of accident you’re involved in, ” Indiana State Police Sergeant Matt Ames said.

While dispatch gets a lot of emergency related calls, with current inclement weather, more calls are received deemed non-emergency related.

“Some of the calls we do receive are if your power goes out — well, we don’t control the power. We do not take those kinds of calls and we ask you don’t call 9-1-1 to find out what the road conditions are,” Ames said.

Oppositely, Gambill said he has had instances where people have situations where they should call, but don’t.

“They get a heart condition, they feel overcome by the snow shoveling and have trouble breathing, they feel like they might pass out. Those are some of the true emergencies that we get,” Gambill said. “If you’re trying to walk after your car has run off, call 911.”

According to both Ames and Gambill, extra first responders are on stand-by within their districts.

“We want you to call 911 if you feel it’s an emergency. We want you to call,” Gambill said.

While there are no travel advisories in place, motorists should limit how often they’re on the road and if they venture onto the road, do so with caution.

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