MINNEAPOLIS, M.N. (KELO) — For doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers, preparations for the storm have been underway.

“…Asking staff, extra staff, to come in to back up the staff that maybe can’t get in or won’t be able to get in and then making plans for those who are stuck,” said Dr. Joey Duren, Allina Heath EMS Chief Medical Director.

“We do have shovels on our ambulances. We have salt and sand mixtures as well to help us out. And we have a few sleds if we need to use them,” Ryan Mayfield, Hennepin Healthcare EMS Assistant Chief, said.

The first wave of winter weather usually sends patient numbers down. More people need help in the aftermath.

“Falls are a huge one. I mean, we can’t forget how much ice we have right now from that last rain underneath that snow,” said Dr. Duren. “So we have seen so many falls over this past week and that’s not going to go away with this snow.”

Hennepin EMS says they usually average six calls an hour, but with yesterday’s falls, they got between 20 and 30 calls.

That’s one reason why first responders are asking everyone to stay home and off the roads if possible.

“Definitely the weather can impact our response,” said Mayfield. “It might make it slightly slower for us to get people when needed by we triage all our calls and get to the most important ones first, the ones that are most sick or injured.”

“We will get to you as soon as we can and as safely as we can, but if you don’t need us, we’d appreciate saving us for somebody who really, really does especially during these hard times of getting around,” Dr. Duren said.

Unless you need specialty care, ambulances plan on taking patients to the hospital closest to their homes. That way, they can get back into the rotation when needed.