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BURLINGTON, Wash. - The collapsed bridge in Skagit County creates a tough obstacle for first responders. In a profession where every minute matters, they are trying to find the best way to deal with the detours.

Assistant Fire Chief Glen Staheli with the Burlington Fire Department said that he is increasing staffing over the holiday weekend as a precaution.

We are plowing new ground here hourly about how to deal with this, said Staheli. We are not going to know what we get until we get out there. If it is 3 o clock in the morning, we are fortunate. If it is 3 o clock in the afternoon, we will have more traffic. Is it going to take extra time? Occasionally, it definitely will. How much extra time? I don t know. I cant even say.

Fire chiefs in Skagit County met on Friday to discuss plans and procedures. One decision made involved Skagit Valley Hospital. Normally in emergencies, patients are transported to Skagit Valley Hospital. But now, because of the I-5 bridge collapse and traffic detours, only patients south of the river will be brought there. Those north of the river will be transported to United General in Sedro Woolley.

Staheli said there has been so planning meetings, he feels confident and prepared going into the holiday weekend.

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