Brain-check

From Chuck Simmins, who drives an ambulance:

IMPORTANT NOTICE
TO ALL AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS
IN THE UNITED STATES

IF YOU PASS AN AMBULANCE
WITH ITS LIGHTS AND SIREN ON:

YOU’RE DRIVING TOO DAMN FAST!

Comments

  1. once upon a time, driving north from rockingham nc on us 220, divided four-lane highway, i overtook an ambulance with lights on, heading north at about 45 mph. i rode behind him for a couple of miles, then decided i could safely pass him (there was no other traffic). i did so, and he flipped on his siren and honked his airhorn at me, but continued to poke along at 45 mph, while i continued on at a somewhat higher speed. all i can say is, i’m glad it wasn’t me lying in the back of that wagon.

  2. Well, I guess we usually just assume that a siren with its lights on is flying on its way somewhere. I guess it’s a little unreasonable to expect everyone to poke along at 45 on a divided highway with no traffic. 45 mph. That’s just weird. Maybe his speedometer was broken and he thought he was racing? Not likely. Or maybe he was playing around on a slow night? That doesn’t seem likely, at least from any of the emergency personnel I know. Or maybe it was a mechanic transferring the vehicle who was funning with you? Bizarre.

  3. Not what I was talking about. More like 75 mph and getting passed. However, going that speed was most likely so that the medic in the back could perform a procedure, like a needle stick or a chest decompression without all the bumps. Remember that the back of an ambulance, for all intents and purposes, in the back of a pickup truck, and you know how ‘well’ that rides.

  4. Ahhh. That makes perfect sense. I didn’t think you meant 45 mph. I just couldn’t figure out why an ambulance with lights on would be going 45 down a highway. Thanks much for commenting. It’s like you know what you’re talking about, or something…

  5. chuck, i figured it was probably something like that. the odd bit (to me) was the driver’s indignance that i passed him (safely) on a wide flat divided four-lane highway with no traffic. another ambulance story: our boy scout troop participated in a simulated bus/auto accident in the local mall parking lot (couple three years ago). there were lots of ‘dead’ and ‘injured’ folks in the bus and the car. it was a little creepy. afterwards we stood outside the scene and discussed the various victims and what might be done (amateur triage). it was warm, and my oldest son (12-13 at the time) passed out and crumpled to the pavement. the tech noticed, caught him, and carried him about 10 feet to one of several ambulances, where he was treated to a few minutes of conditioned air and oxygen. fixed him right up. much appreciated.