Operating in winter conditions: Renewed focus for rescue drivers

Written by Leonard D'Orlando,

Here in the States the shift from the fall season toward the winter season has started and it won’t be long until many places are blanketed in snow. For the rescue driver this is also a time of shift in preparation and renewed focus on the job at hand. The priorities are always the same; the safe transport of patients and EMTs with a focus on quick response time. During the winter months these goals never change but the methods and practices implemented by the rescue driver do.

Renewed focus on driver and vehicle preparation.

Icy, snowy roads may keep most people safely in their homes, but first responders are duty bound to respond no matter the weather conditions. Despite all the advances in technology, sometimes common sense and the correct tools for the situation are all a rescue driver needs to do their job safely and in a timely manner. Driver training with renewed focus and reminders on the risks and hazards of running in winter conditions is essential.

Likewise, vehicles need to be properly prepped for the colder weather as well, so they do not run the risk of breaking down. All fluids and equipment need to be checked for proper operation at colder temperatures. Proper winter tires and traction devices also go a long way in cutting down on response times and getting the rescue driver to their destination safely.

Renewed focus on their surroundings and community.

In addition to driver training and vehicle maintenance; response times can also be impacted by surroundings and community. Does the rescue driver have access to modern EMS/Fire systems or not? Regulations and laws must be considered as well. Topography and whether drivers are running in rural or urban areas also need to be addressed. There is no one simple answer to reducing response time due to the sheer number of variables. However, addressing identified issues is critical to ensuring the safety of the community when dangerous situations arise such as winter weather conditions.

Renewed focus on tried-and-true equipment.

Slippery road conditions require increased traction to avoid getting stuck or sliding off the road. The most effective tool for safe travel in icy conditions are tire chains. Tire chains are intended to add traction to your vehicle during adverse driving conditions. Manual tire chains, however, require parking, leaving the cab and taking time to install the chains which can delay response time. With automatic tire chains, drivers avoid delays because the system is engaged from the safety of the cab while already in motion saving critical response time.

You may not have always noticed them, but Onspot automatic tire chains have been operating on thousands of rescue vehicles over the past few decades. A set of Onspot provides the traction comparable to conventional tire chains. It gives you the traction needed in critical situations when you must not lose valuable time.

Additionally, if you believe ice or snow will be coming soon you can engage automatic tire chains before encountering the slippery area. In this way, you ensure that traction isn’t lost when you hit the slick spot. We all know that traction is just as important when stopping. Onspot is equally helpful at preventing the vehicle from sliding through a slowdown, stop, or even when driving in reverse. An automatic tire chain system is engaged by the flip of a switch, without stopping the vehicle. The driver can disengage as soon as the road is dry again, just flip the switch in the opposite direction and the chains will be stowed until needed again in the future.

Want to hear more? Check out our video to see what rescue drivers have to say about using Onspot.

What rescue drivers say...


Rescue Driving Response time – a challenge for the rescue driver Snow chain Slippery Roads Automatic Snow Chains onspot icy conditions Rescue Vehicles traction driver safety improve performance on slippery roads Response Time tire chains snow chains Ambulance

Leonard D'Orlando

About Leonard D'Orlando

Leonard has six years with Onspot Automatic Tire Chains in North America. Four years as a field technician on the East Coast and two years as a Regional Sales Manager. During the four years as a field technician Leonard provided install and maintenance training to dealers. Leonard also performed fleet reviews for customers and provided technical service support. An alumnus from the University of Maine, Leonard graduated with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Education. Leonard also attended Texas State Technical College where he earned an associate’s degree in automotive mechanics.


Subscribe to blog updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

Se all

Follow us