The “shutdown” of public offices across the USA is not affecting emergency services. Federal authorities, which have also had to close their own offices and sack 800,000 people, reassure residents. The emergency number 911, which calls up the ambulance, firefighting and police services, is still fully active, as are medical and social security services.
However, on the fifth consecutive day of US public sector paralysis the future of these basic pillars of the US government looks rather grim. The political battle between democrats and republicans over the health reforms wanted by Obama, is turning into a boomerang, alarming citizens and casting serious doubts on the future. The first accounts are starting to arrive from the United States of the disruption and paralysis also affecting emergency services. The closure of entrances to large protected areas alarms the many people who reside within park limits.
In eastern Tennessee, for example, in the Great Smoky Mountains area, local communities talk of difficulties getting about due to the locking of nature park gates, which is affecting school transport and emergency services. Indeed, having to use minor roads makes intervention times much longer.