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Ark. EMS relies on emergency plan during protest on interstate bridge

Crittendon EMS had to deal with one bridge closed for repairs and another closed by protesters

By Bill Carey

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A Pro-Palestine rally that blocked an I-40 bridge in Crittendon County caused Crittendon EMS to implement an emergency transport plan.

With the I-40 bridge blocked and the I-55 bridge closed for construction, Crittenden EMS had no way to get to Memphis hospitals, WMC reported.

“So anytime access to Memphis hospitals is inhibited, it creates a significant risk to community health because our local hospitals don’t have critical care,” Crittendon EMS Director Hudson Hallum said. “We immediately implemented our emergency action plans for limited access across the river.”

Hallum said the timing was difficult when the bridge was blocked. There was a spike in calls and a change in the weather forecast that would have limited the use of medical helicopters.

“The factor that nobody else was thinking about, there was rain moving in that restricts the ability of the air transport services,” Hallum said. “We at that point would have to think about transporting further into the state, or we do have the last resort option to utilize a boat to get across the river if we need to.”

Crittenden EMS responded to nearly 40 911 calls during Saturday’s protest. A medical helicopter was used to transport a patient having a medical emergency in the traffic.