Paramedics Discuss Dangers On The Road After Ambulance Crash

Friday, November 23rd 2012, 7:24 pm
By: News 9

A frightening accident involving a metro ambulance prompts a warning for drivers.

The crash on Thursday flipped the ambulance over with three people inside. Two paramedics from Midwest City EMS and their patient were transported to the hospital.

11/22/2012 Related Story: Jeep Slams Into Ambulance Heading To OKC Hospital

An SUV driver failed to yield to the ambulance as it was going through an intersection.

News 9 talked to EMSA on Friday about the dangers they face on the road, and why it's critical other drivers stay alert.

Most of us know to pull over when we hear or see an ambulance coming our way, but sometimes as drivers, we get distracted.

"When we're in the back end of one of these trucks, especially if we have the lights and sirens on, we're pretty well focused on our patients," EMSA field supervisor Tony McCarty said.

Paramedics aren't always able to wear seatbelts because they need their mobility to care for patients.

"So if we do have an accident or there's any kind of abrupt stop, that paramedic is at risk of becoming a human missile," McCarty said.

Thursday, EMSA responded to a crash at Meridian and Memorial, where a driver hit an ambulance, flipping it on its side. Fortunately, everyone was okay. All paramedics are trained on how to react when crashes like this happen.

"Toward the front of the ambulance we actually have a cargo net, and we call it a paramedic catch net," McCarty said.

But crashes always put them at risk and delay critical time getting a patient to the hospital.

"We have in our ambulance brought the emergency room to them, but there are some of those lab tests, some of the critical interventions that a physician can provide that we don't have the equipment, nor do we have the training to provide for these patients," McCarty said.

Crashes involving ambulances are rare, especially when you consider how much time paramedics are on the road. EMSA drivers average about 1,200 miles every two weeks.

Paramedics also urge drivers to avoid using iPods and cell phones behind the wheel. Those can be dangerous distractions and prevent you from hearing the emergency sirens.