Close Calls: Log Impales Ambulance Cab

Paying attention while driving any emergency vehicle is clearly a top priority because, in so many cases, defensive driving can result in avoiding a bad situation. Factors such as roadway conditions, weather, speed and vehicle condition/maintenance, but...


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The following account is by EMT Jeremy Beard, the driver of the ambulance:

We were traveling on Highway 231. Literally one second we are just driving and the next there is a tree about three inches from my face. My first thought was of the patient, so I was able to work my way into the back of the ambulance to assist in checking on Patrick and the patient. The adrenaline of the accident prevented me from even noticing my own injuries until a few minutes later, when other crews arrived to take care of our patient. I was thankful that I was seatbelted in, and thankful that everyone was OK from the accident.

The following comments are from Chief Goldfeder related to emergency vehicle driving:

Other than heart attack and stroke, emergency vehicle operations are when we most often get ourselves and others hurt and killed. Thankfully, the Samaritan Ambulance leadership took (and takes) EMS operations, and specifically the driving of emergency vehicles, seriously. And while this close call could not have been avoided, and thankfully the medic was in the back, “systems in place” such as the use of seatbelts and related training helped contribute to a positive outcome.

Here are a few reminders about the operations of emergency vehicles:

  • Drive and don’t text or use your cell phone. Seriously – pay attention.
  • Look before exiting or entering – are all doors closed? How about the patient compartment doors?
  • Make sure every member who may drive is trained in and follows traffic management guidelines for deploying signs, setting up cones, using warning/blocking vehicles, parking blocking vehicles and placement of ambulances on scenes.
  • Secure all equipment in the patient care area, including the cardiac monitor, O2 bottle and jumpkit.
  • Wear your seatbelt. Make sure you are secure.
  • And for the supervisors and chiefs:
  • Do you have a system in place for supervision of your drivers?
  • Are your drivers qualified to drive?
  • Are your drivers fit to drive the apparatus and equipment?
  • Are you aware of your drivers’ current and past driving records?
  • Once they are initially trained and certified, how often are drivers re-trained and re-certified?
  • What does your insurance provider recommend?
  • What does your EMS agency or fire department attorney recommend?
  • What are the laws in your state pertaining to the operation of emergency vehicles?

For more information about dapparatus safely, please go to websites such as firehouse.com, usfa.fema.gov, iaff.org, iafcsafety.org, drivetosurvive.org, emergencyvehicleresponse.com, respondersafety.com, firefighterclosecalls.com and everyonegoeshome.com.