EMS crews working around traffic congestion due to Wando Bridge closure


"We're getting a call right now," said Carl Fehr as he listens to an automated dispatch voice on a radio inside his Charleston County-issued Chevy Tahoe. He’s 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.

The division chief for Charleston County EMS navigated the busy route using the frontage road of Johnnie Dodds Boulevard.

"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 who will 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.

READ MORE | I-526W over Wando Bridge to be closed up to 48 hours for emergency repair assessments

"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.

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