Ambulance staff must now check the nuts on the wheels on their vehicles before they start their shift.
An internal HSE memo has been sent to workers ordering them to inspect their vehicles and gives detailed instructions on how to do the safety check.
The document is dated February 21 and was drafted two weeks before the wheel came off an ambulance in Dundalk, Co Louth, which had just brought a patient to hospital.
Staff have hit out at being asked to work as mechanics as well as paramedics.
One said: “We don’t mind looking at the wheels but we are not mechanics.”
As Ambulance Driver would say, “Oh, the Huge Manatee!”
Imagine being asked to actually LOOK at the lug nuts.
There is a copy of the memo in the article at the link. It directs crews to inspect the yellow pointers that are on the wheels during their daily vehicle inspection. If they notice one of the markers is not pointing in the right direction, they are (GASP) to make sure that the ambulance is “placed out of service until examined by the appropriate vehicle maintenance service provider”.
Which would entail no more labor than maybe picking up a phone and calling dispatch.
It is not as if they are being asked to grab a lug wrench and tighten the lug nuts themselves. Which is something that we had to do at my service way back when. Along with changing tires if there were no mechanics available.
This is going to turn into one of those “Back in my day” stories. Because in the past history of EMS, more than one emergency repair took place in order to keep an ambulance in service and have to go through the ordeal of changing in to a “spare” ambulance. Or as one of my co workers referred to them, “rentals”. And you all know how loved a rental car is.
Change tires, tighten lug nuts, replace light bulbs, swap sirens with spare ambulances so that we could go back in service. For many years my service made the mistake of leaving spare vehicles where we could get at them. It wasn’t pretty on Monday mornings when the mechanics came in and found all of the parts missing from the spare ambulances by enterprising medic and EMTs intent on keeping their regular ambulance in service.
Not to mention the locker full of spare parts that I had.
And these wimps are complaining about having to look at lug nuts.
I’d bet that there is far less aggravation attached to walking around an ambulance looking for loose lug nuts than there is writing a series of reports about why they fell off while you were on a response.
I won’t say that I was always 100% diligent in doing my vehicle check outs, but there were some things that I checked every shift whether it was my turn to drive or not. Lug nuts were one of those things. I almost learned that the hard way one day about thirty years ago. Doing my walk around I noticed that there weren’t the requisite eight lug nuts on one of the rear wheels. Nor were there an almost adequate seven. Six? No. Five? No. Four. Uh uh. There were two lug nuts, both loose. Where they had gone in the 24 hours since my last shift I never found out, but they were gone. The off going crew swore on a stack of bibles that the had looked at the start of their shift.
From that day forward I never took an ambulance on a call without first checking the lug nuts. More than once I found loose or missing ones. It’s just one of those mysteries of the universe, I guess. It probably happens in other fields, but less often because they don’t beat the holy crap out of vehicles as does EMS.
All of which is to say that I have no sympathy for the whiny Irish EMS crews who are complaining about this.