ROCKFORD, Mich. (WZZM) - We know potholes can hurt your car, but they could impact your life because the same road you take to work is also traveled by ambulances -- and the last place you want to be when you hit a pothole is in the back of ambulance.
Rockford Ambulance gets an average of 20 to 30 calls a day for service. Some of those calls require a trip to the hospital, and that means having to take some bumpy roads.
"It affects us mainly because it is quite a rough ride; even on smooth roads, it is quite a rough ride," explains Severiano Chavez, an EMT at Rockford Ambulance. "People forget we have to do procedures like putting in an IV on the way to the hospital."
Josh Thibault, director of safety at Life EMS, says, "It is by far our number one complaint from patients: the quality of the ride and how smooth it was."
Ambulance drivers sometimes have to find new routes or stop completely to put in a needle, and -- when every minute counts --slowing down is not a good thing.
"If the ride is bumpy," explains Chavez, "I grab whatever arm I am going to put the IV in, and you have to move with the patient, move with the ambulance, then you do a 1-2-3-poke."
In Rockford the roads are not as bad as they are near Grand Rapids hospitals.
"Typically a patient in the back will start complaining about a bump here and there, but the closer we get to the hospital, the worse it gets -- so that is when they start really complaining about potholes," Chavez says.
For Chavez and other EMTs, a fix to the roads can't come soon enough -- because, after all, lives are on the line.