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National Guard prepares to help stranded drivers during winter weather

National Guard members are being sent out to areas across both states to assist local first responders with tracking and helping drivers who could get stuck.

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas — Arkansas and Oklahoma National Guard soldiers are gearing up to assist local first responders with motor vehicle rescues due to the icy conditions. 

Bob Oldham with the Arkansas National Guard says they anticipate they will send 64 or more soldiers in different counties across the state to assist. 

Oldham says throughout the week the soldiers have had to provide food, water and warmth to many stranded people. 

“We tell people to plan ahead of time. Have blankets in the car with you, bring water, bring snacks, if you get stranded there's no telling how long it'll take for us to get to you,” says Oldham. 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is also working with the National Guard to help with life-threatening situations. In a statement, Oklahoma Highway Patrol says it will meet with guardsmen this Sunday (Feb. 14).

RELATED: Oklahoma Highway Patrol encourages everyone to stay home during winter weather

“OHP is partnering with the Oklahoma National Guard to have Stranded Motorist Assist Response Teams (SMART) ready to assist stranded motorists if needed. These teams will be placed strategically throughout the interstate system Sunday through Wednesday. We will have teams on I-44, I-40 and I-35.”

Oklahoma Highway Patrol is urging Oklahomans to stay home this weekend and to only go out if absolutely necessary. There is a risk of getting stranded, officers say it could be hours before someone can get to your vehicle. 

“If you are stuck it can take a much longer time, you have to realize we are responding in the same conditions you got stuck in,” said Eric Foster with the OHP. 

RELATED: County emergency managers prepare for potential snowstorm