LAS VEGAS -- Time is crucial when emergency crews respond to an incident and getting there can be half the battle. About 60 percent of ambulance crashes nationally happen at intersections. Already, there have been nearly 200 this year.
Most drivers have been in a situation where an ambulance with siren and flashing lights approaches their vehicle. It can be a dangerous situation for everyone on the road if proper safety precautions aren't taken.
One locally owned ambulance company has invested in a new safer truck.
"When we respond to an emergency, we want to make sure we are seen and heard," said Ted Milano, a driver safety coordinator with Community Ambulance.
Flashing lights and a siren are the universal signal of an emergency situation, but not everyone abides by the common driving rule of moving over to the right to let the ambulance pass safely.
"There's a fair percentage of people that just panic. Where they slam their breaks on and we are operating 12,000 pound vehicles versus a car," Milano said. "We are transporting patients so we don't have the ability to swerve."
A crash in 2012 involved a Medic West ambulance happened when a driver collided with the ambulance at the intersection. It's a situation that happens more often than one might think.
Safety is top priority for Community Ambulance which is why they invested about $150,000 in a new ambulance designed to be safer and tougher on the busy streets of Las Vegas.
"Not only do the front and back have good lighting but the sides, the LED shoot up from the side, as much light coming from all areas to alert 16 lanes of traffic," said Brian Rogers, Community Ambulance CEO.
It also has improved restraints for patients and paramedics. Not to mention a finger print ID system to prevent people from stealing narcotics out of the ambulance.
"It's almost like a gun safe. There's no breaking into it and it requires a fingerprint from a paramedic to access those drugs," Milano said.
While the price tag on the ambulance doesn't come cheap, it's an investment the company is willing to make.
"Have had too many friends involved in accidents, whatever it takes to avoid that next one, we'll do," Rogers said.
This is the first ambulance truck of its kind in Las Vegas. Community Ambulance says the goal is to have at least few more within the next couple years.
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