Deadly accident brings dangers of EMS to light

Deadly accident brings dangers of EMS to light

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - An ambulance crash in Oklahoma City killed one woman and injured two other people.

The preliminary report says the ambulance drove off the road, rolled, and landed on its roof. The cargo part of that ambulance detached from the cab and two passengers in the back were ejected. One was killed at the scene while the other passenger and the driver were taken to the hospital. Still no word on what led up to the crash.

EMTs with Kirk's EMS in Lawton and the Comanche County Memorial Hospital said that the job is very dangerous. As an EMT, you will generally work 24 hours shifts, but sometimes you'll work 48 hours or even longer, which can be stressful. If you couple that with the unpredictability of calls coming in and the people you encounter while driving and you'll see it truly is a dangerous job.

Every day, EMT and paramedics respond to dozens of calls, putting themselves in harm's way with each one.

"It's a dangerous job just like law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS it's all the same thing. The biggest danger responding to a call is people not seeing you. That's why I use the term due regard you have to be the eyes and ears and determine what is safe and what's unsafe. You can't rely on the other drivers to always do the right thing," said paramedic for Kirk's EMS Taylor Chapman

All drivers are supposed to know the laws regarding emergency vehicles but unfortunately, that doesn't mean people always follow them.

"It does get frustrating when people don't understand the laws, they're very simple and we are supposed to know them. Pull to the right, stop, yield to emergency vehicles, get from the right of way. They are trying to go on to your family members, your friends, people in your community that are having emergencies so please show that due respect," said Comanche County Memorial Hospital EMS Manager Richie Bohach.

Transporting patients and ensuring the safety of everyone around you is a big part of the job, but it's just one of the dangers EMTs encounter. Most will work the same number of hours in two days that the rest of us spend the entire week working.

"It can be really tough, especially with a lot of people here working multiple jobs so when you are on the backside of a 24 or a 48 you can be really tired. That's when your partner comes in you have to give and take. Take naps whenever you can and just try to stay fresh," Chapman said.

Safety is the biggest goal of EMS workers and no matter their condition, both Bohach and Chapman said once a patient is in their care, it is their responsibility to get them to their destination quickly and safely.

They also said that every scene, no matter how safe it is, can become unsafe at any time because of things like a patient's condition changing or other people showing up at the scene. Because of that, on top of caring for the patients, the EMTs must always be very aware of their surroundings.

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