Tuesday, October 10, 2006


A LifeCare Ambulance was struck Monday afternoon at the intersection of E. 28th Street and Denver Ave. This is the second LifeCare Ambulance that was struck within 15 hours of each other. Early this morning, around 12:30am, an ambulance was struck on W 21st Street and Washington Ave when Angela Cisneros ran a flashing red light in her rented Chrysler 300M.

TMC NEWS has learned today that the Cisneros, after admitting to the Lorain Police Officer that she had had “several beers”, refused a field sobriety test and then later refused to allow staff at Community Health Partners to draw blood to determine her blood alcohol level.
Cisneros, because of her admission of drinking “several beer”, the officer noting her balance was unsteady and that her speech was somewhat slurred, was charged with DUI.

Then today around 5pm another LifeCare Ambulance, while returning to their station, was struck by a vehicle on E 28th St near Denver Ave. Both crewmembers were reportedly ok and the driver of the other vehicle was transported to Community Health Partners with injuries that did not appear to be serious.

When contacted by TMC NEWS about having two Ambulances involved in traffic crashes within 15 hours of each other, Herb de la Porte, Vice President of LifeCare said, “LifeCare Ambulance Inc operates around 40 vehicles within Lorain County. With over a million miles of combined travel each year in mostly urban settings, accidents will happen. Our goal is to continually find ways through review and training to maximize the vehicle’s visibility and minimize the damage when there is a collision”.

We wanted to know, with having so many vehicles on the road 24 hours a day 7 days a week, how do you reach that goal. de la Porte said there are 5 main points to achieving that goal and shared them with us. We wanted to share them with you, feeling it was important for the public to see especially in light of the two crashes within 15 hours of each other.

Driving Credentials: Although the state law allows anyone with a driver’s license to drive and ambulance, the professionals driving for LifeCare Ambulance have to comply with much stricter requirements. Anyone with more than 4 points on their license is automatically excluded from driving any LifeCare vehicle and everyone has to follow a defensive driving course with annual recurrent training, including an obstacle course. Failure to pass also means an automatic exclusion.

Safer ambulances: Last year we shifted to a different type of ambulance where the portable lifesaving equipment in the rear compartment is securely stored and there is less of a chance of it becoming a projectile in case of a collision. The vehicle’s rounded corners may also help absorb impacts better than the traditional square boxes, while keeping the occupants better protected inside.

Seat belts: Seat belt use on attendants and patients is mandatory and penalties are high if they are not worn. The only time seatbelts do not have to be worn is when the paramedics are working on a patient in the back. To minimize the risk of a collision at that time, you may have noticed that, although an ambulance will almost always respond to an emergency with lights and sirens, they will only go to the hospital that way if the patient is truly critically ill or injured.

Increased visibility: In our newest vehicles, the traditional painted red stripe has been replaced by highly reflective red and blue tape that increases the visibility of the unit dramatically.

Cameras: Since 2001, the vast majority of LifeCare vehicles have had a Drive Cam (www.drivecam.com) device mounted in the vicinity of the rearview mirror. This device records everything that happens in front of the vehicle as well as the driver’s compartment but only puts video in memory if the vehicle has a sudden change in speed or direction like in hard braking, cornering or a crash. A supervisor can download a period from 10 seconds before the event to 10 seconds after onto a laptop and review it. In both these crashes, the footage was downloaded and shared with the police department. In both cases, they not only represent an impartial view of what exactly happened in the seconds leading up to and following the crash, but also graphically show the trauma that our four EMT’s endured simply because someone failed to pay attention to a traffic light.

It should be noted that in both cases LifeCare was found “not at fault” by the police and the video from the Drive Cam’s, that de la Porte spoke of, support those findings.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angela apparently has a severe alcohol issue as she was arrested for that very same charge in Tampa, Florida a few years ago. She needs serious counselling to help her overcome that addiction, especially now since she is a new mother of a son with the renter of said vehicle, Wayne- a married man.

8:01 PM  

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