Professionals Work Around the Clock, Despite Snow


WINCHESTER, Va. - Snow storms mean a day off for most, but for those in the medical field not showing up to work could mean the difference between life or death for someone else.

"This winter's been a little more challenging, more frequent and [snow] accumulation that what we've had in the past, but it really hasn't hampered operations here at all," said Desiree Brunelle, Director of Emergency Services at Valley Health’s Winchester Medical Center.

"When we know it's coming in, we have a couple things. First we have our ground crew to get everything ready, pre-salting and have everyone on standby," said Emergency Services Physician David WattsWinchester Medical Center.

EMS crews also prep their vehicles and staff.

"We make sure we have snow shovels, salt, things like that for our crews to be able to get in safely,” said Bryan Rosati, an Operations Manager with Valley Medical Transport.

And when the weather gets really bad?

"We make arrangements for hotels or rooms at the hospital for our crews to be able to stay close to the station," said Rosati.

Staff at Winchester Medical Center say they housed more than 150 staff members during the last major snow storm.

“For example we had people spend the night last night that are working day-shift today, and people that are sleeping now, working night-shift, who didn't want to go back home because of the weather,” said Brunelle.

But the abnormal amount of snow days Northern Virginia has had this year has a bright side.

"It's helped in some ways, because when you have a winter where you only get one storm everybody kind of panics and you fumble through. At this point now, it's becoming more routine, so we're getting a lot better about it,” said Rosati.

"Nothing really gets cancelled, staff show up regardless of the weather," Brunelle said.

"Today a lot of the staff brought in donuts for each other, or coffee because we know it's going to be an uphill battle and we're all in it together,” said Watts.

Despite all the cold weather, they're preparedness has kept the hospital open for all patients.

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