What holidays look like for emergency workers in Marquette County

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 4:29 PM EST
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - During the most wonderful time of the year, our emergency personnel are still hard at work, and want you to know what they’re up against.

While 911 calls vary each year, one emergency dispatcher said they are expecting to be busier this weekend because of the incoming winter storm.

“Some years can be very slow, others can be busy just depending on how things are going but this weekend I expect there to be a high volume with the snow,” Negaunee Regional Communications Lead Dispatcher Adam Holloway said.

The Negaunee Fire Department asks the community to be patient when calling 911 in the next few days, especially with road conditions.

”We’re expected to get plenty of snow throughout the week and into the weekend. As much as we want to get to an emergency as fast as possible, we want to do it safely,” firefighter Mason Tompkins said.

Tompkins also said some agencies are on-call during the holidays, leading to further obstacles in response time.

“If there’s an EMS emergency, those crews who get paged out have to drive from home to the garage, get in the car, then drive out to your call. That’s another factor that goes into response time,” Tompkins said.

In addition to weather, many of those working are facing long hours because agencies are understaffed.

“Our officers have been filling in the holes by doing excessive overtime. Every one of the prison officers has been doing 16-hour shifts and it’s hard on the family,” said Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt.

But while it may be difficult, Zyburt said it’s something deputies expect to do.

“You’re paid usually time and a half and sometimes double time and a half. You do get compensated and usually, our main goal during the holidays isn’t to write tickets, it’s just to respond to emergencies,” Zyburt said.

Finally, all agencies hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend.