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How emergency services are preparing for the Highway 99 closure

Fire officials tell ABC10 they have already got a coordinated plan to make sure crews can get to every call for service quickly.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Highway 99 will close in Sacramento at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 11. With a closure of this magnitude, many wondered how public safety might be impacted while trying to navigate through some clogged up side-streets.

A Sacramento Fire station is only about a block away from where the highway closure is expected to begin off of 47th Avenue. While side streets surrounding the station are expected to be packed, fire officials tell ABC10 they have already got a coordinated plan to make sure crews can get to every call for service quickly.

"We public safety providers learn to adapt and be flexible," said David Magnino, EMS administrator for Sacramento County EMS Agency. 

As traffic cones, signs, and messages went out about the Highway 99 closure, the planning behind the scenes began more than a month ago.

"It does cause a little bit of an issue because the public safety providers do use the freeways as much as possible when they need to get from one place to another," Magnino explained. 

In order to get around the side streets, as they begin to fill up, there is a collaboration happening with law enforcement, the Sacramento Fire Department's dispatch center, and firefighters on the ground.

"With our team members that are going to be out monitoring traffic flows, their communication is going to be important to the line crews, to the field firefighters who are out there responding and those firefighters are going to give us up to date real-time information as to what they’re experiencing on the surface streets,” explained Keith Wade from the Sacramento Fire Department. 

According to the fire department, in addition to using alternate routes to reach calls for service, crews will have extra resources, including traffic officers and the air operations unit. The additional resources will be assigned to major corridors along the closure to monitor and assist with traffic flow.

The Sacramento County EMS Agency says they've been telling their emergency service providers to take different detours than the ones given by Caltrans.

"Those Caltrans detours are going to be impacted, so they need to think a little bit further out," Magnino said. 

As for response times, crews believe they may only be impacted by a couple of minutes but they need drivers to do their part as well. 

"Please, if you see red lights and sirens, yield the way so that emergency crews can get through," Magnino said. 

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