Potholes have ambulance drivers switching up routes home

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Potholes can really take a toll on your vehicle -- and this winter's bitter cold has left Milwaukee area roads in rough condition! The damage can be amplified if you're on the road every day as, say, a first responder driving an ambulance.

Bell Ambulance says its maintenance shop has been very busy this winter.

"During this time of year, it's a focus point. They pay special attention to a lot of the suspension, making sure the tires are good, making sure just the overall ride of the ambulance is good," Jason Burr with Bell Ambulance said.

That's because out on the roads, it's difficult for ambulance drivers to avoid the daily bumps, bangs and bashes.

"We can't deviate from the quickest way possible to that call," Burr said.

That means a ride in an ambulance can be uncomfortable.

"When we're responding to calls, we really don't...you can't modify your route," Burr said.

At North Shore Fire and Rescue, the road conditions haven't changed how they get to a call, but sometimes how they get back.

"It's definitely had an effect on our equipment. We definitely make an effort to maybe take a different route, if we know a route's really bumpy," Lt. Dan Tyk said.

Additionally, crews will try to make things more comfortable for patients on the way to the hospital.

"We will definitely try to persuade them on occasion to go somewhere closer if we know it's going to be an uncomfortable ride for them. We can give people pillows and blankets, but it's hard to fight the bumpy roads," Lt. Tyk said.