Your ambulance shouldn’t be using lights and sirens!
Not sure if this fits here I’ve never posted before but I thought everyone could use a laugh from an emergency medical service call center. As a supervisor I get a lot of complaints forwarded to me since I tend to squash them or I just have a thicker skin than the rest. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt since they feel wronged in some way to get to this point but could be misinformed of the nature of our service. If they are misinformed I try my best to enlighten them before I escalate to the safety department or customer relations, etc. It’s a waste of our time and ultimately an embarrassment to the complainant if not just I need to explain to them that they are wrong. So here is a dialogue I had that is one such misinformed person.
Random caller, probably pulled the phone number from the side of the ambulance;
Lady: Your ambulance is in traffic and almost caused me to get into an accident!
Me: Okay ma’am, so you are not involved in an accident?
Lady: No, but you people shouldn’t be using your lights and sirens to get traffic out of the way.
Me: I’m sorry about that, which unit was it?
Me: I will have someone look into this but from what I see here I can assure you nothing is being done unlawfully.
Lady: Yes there is! You aren’t allowed to use your lights and sirens to get through traffic!
Me: Why do you say that ma’am?
Lady: Both of the drivers are in the front. You don’t have a patient in the ambulance so you can’t use your lights and sirens.
I’m a bit puzzled by this woman’s thought process at this point and I’m not 100% I heard her correctly.
Me: You say they’re in the front of the ambulance using the lights and sirens, correct?
Me: Ma’am you understand that we need to get to the patients before we transport them, correct?
Lady: Yea. I work for the fire department so I know.
I live in a major city, our fire department has a couple of divisions so it could be suppression, fire, etc.
Me: Oh, what division do you work for?
Me: Okay Ma’am, I thank you for your concern. Since you work for the fire department you know that we are permitted by the department of health to use our lights and sirens to get through traffic to a patient’s location as soon as possible to render care.
Lady: No you’re not. I’m going to report you and those two drivers are going to get fired.
Me: If you feel it’s necessary please do so. I will forward your complaint to our safety team and they will look into this for you. Have a good day.
Suffice to say I documented the complaint and had a laugh with a few coworkers.
If she does report this to anyone she will get the same general response of “If they were responding to an emergency then they can use the lights and siren. Did you ask if they were responding to an emergency?”
If it does somehow get escalated to us it will be a simple “Yes, they were responding to an emergency, no we did not see any wrong doing on the drive camera and since we were told no collision occurred we consider the matter closed. Have a good day.”