Emergency teams prepare for Sunday storm


MISSOULA, Mont. - As folks around western Montana prepare for Sunday's forecasted storm, emergency teams are taking inventory and making sure they're up to speed when the winter weather hits. NBC Montana sat down with Chris Lounsbury, director of the Missoula Department of Emergency Management, to discuss the team's preparations. Lounsbury explained that the 911 center will have a full staff of dispatchers, with a couple staff members on call. The rest of the team is willing, he says, to come in if the workload becomes large enough. "They're predicting some difficulty with traveling, which will result in some additional calls for us," said Lounsbury. Lounsbury says the team is expecting most of the storm-related calls to come in on Monday. "That's why we always encourage people, if you can stay off the roads do, but we also understand Monday morning, all of us have to be at work, generally speaking, so we'll probably see an uptick then, and we'll probably see a little uptick on Sunday morning as people are out to church and things like that," said Lounsbury. Lounsbury says that as far as equipment like plows, the county is also prepared. If necessary, the county could also request equipment from neighboring counties. However, those counties may be busy with their own storm troubles, in which case Missoula has other options. "We have access through the state of Montana's larger DES office, which includes the state Department of Transportation that can move resources around from different parts of the state," said Lounsbury. Meanwhile road crews with the County's road department will spend time clearing roads over the weekend to make room for incoming snow.