Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Snowy weather 'worst ever' in Cumbria, says paramedic

Mark Harper said the heavy snowfall left some people stranded

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures have put pressure on emergency services across England, as motorists struggle to negotiate hazardous roads and pedestrians slip and fall on the ice.

North West Ambulance Service paramedic Mark Harper, 46, from Carlisle, said the recent extreme weather is the worst he has seen.

I have been working as a paramedic for nearly 15 years now, and this the worst winter I've ever experienced.

I've never known temperatures as low as they have been.

The people who grit the main trunk roads have done a marvellous job, but some of the outlying roads have been pretty bad.

We've been negotiating some very icy roads.

You are always extremely careful when driving patients, but we've been bearing that in mind even more.

Most of the calls we've been getting have been related to the conditions.

It has been very challenging, but it has been really rewarding too
Mark Harper

We've seen an awful lot of falls resulting in fractures and things like that, and we have been out to people that have become stranded in their homes because of all the snow.

Everybody has really been pulling together, we've been working closely with the mountain rescue team and the police.

The mountain rescue team have helped out with people stranded in remote areas, when our ambulances havn't been able to get through.

We are all upbeat and supporting one another.

People have been willing to work on after their shift finishes, because all the snow means some of us are taking longer to get into work - especially people who live out in rural areas.

My journey in is only about four miles, but I'm out in the country and the first two or three miles have been over hard ice and snow.

It has been very challenging, but it has been really rewarding too.

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