Bell Ambulance makes plea for safe driving following recent crashes

Reckless driving poses a danger for all of us. That includes the drivers with the most important destinations – getting patients the emergency care they need. A crash involving a Bell Ambulance and two other vehicles at 20th and Layton Monday, Feb. 28 sent two EMTs, a patient and a reckless driver to the hospital with injuries.

Bell Ambulance crews are used to car crashes, but they're not used to being in them.

"Every day, you’re helping people in their time of need," said Adam Kuhs, deputy director of operations. "We do what we can to ensure that we’re avoiding these (crashes) at all costs."

On Monday, Milwaukee police say a vehicle hit a Bell Ambulance with its lights and sirens on for emergency transport. That impact rolled the ambulance on its side into a third car.

Police say no one in that third car was hurt, but the driver of the SUV was cited and hospitalized with nonfatal injuries. After being extricated from the ambulance, two EMTs and a patient were taken to a hospital, expected to be OK. According to Bell Ambulance, the EMTs were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

"Everyone that has to drive an ambulance or is in an ambulance is aware there’s a certain risk to it," said Kuhs.

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That risk is only higher with reckless drivers on the road.

"Over the last couple years, it’s definitely been noticeable, whether we’ve had mirrors taken off," said Kuhs. "There’s times where we’ve been simply at stoplights and been rear-ended."

On Dec. 7, a Milwaukee County Transit System bus hit a parked Bell Ambulance, injuring a patient and two EMTs, one who is still recovering.

"Ambulances can be fixed," said Kuhs. "People, on the other hand, that’s a lot more complicated."

Bell Ambulance has some simple requests: Slow down for emergency vehicles, give them some space and put distractions to the side.

"Whether it’s the radio, the phone or simply looking away for a second, it could be the difference with you connecting with a first responder’s vehicle and you getting home safely," said Kuhs.

Bell Ambulance says there are safety precautions in the back of the ambulance that help prevent crashes from being worse, including a cot magnetically secured to the floor and a strict seatbelt policy.

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