Potholes Slow Emergency Vehicle Reponse Time

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

Meridian Twp. (WILX) -- Potholes are putting a beating on not only cars, but emergency vehicles as well.

The bad roads are adding to response time, but for some of the emergency vehicles the potholes are unavoidable.

"If it adds a second or three to response time verses us not getting there in a safe manner, I'm going to do that," said Chief Brian Ball with the Dehli Fire Department. "I don't advise my guys to swerve to miss a pothole, especially with these fire trucks. The center of gravity is too high."

As a result some of the vehicles are returning to the station with bent rims, flat tires, and broken suspensions

Dehli Township is already down one ambulance because of pothole damage. It puts first responders in a tight position.

"That's my reserve ambulance. If I have another one go down while that one is being worked on, I'm going to have to reach out to my metro partners," said Ball.

Lansing and Meridian Township are also having more emergency vehicles coming in for repair due to roads. It's a growing problem that's already costing thousands of dollars according to Dennis Antone, Meridian Twp. Facilities Superintendent.

Ambulances are having problems with the condition of the ride as well. The bumps make emergency procedures a risk to the patients.

"We want to make sure we're not causing any more injuries, or making injuries that they already have worse," said Bill Priese Chief of EMS operations for Meridian Township.

To reduce problems ambulance drivers are trying to find the smoothest routes possible instead of finding the fastest roads.

"They'll maybe take an alternative route if they know some roads are going to be worse than other ones. Some potholes you just can't avoid," said Priese.

First responders are reminding people that no matter how bad the roads are, drivers still need to pull over to let ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles through.

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