An example of how NOT to park

I’m noticing a jump in new people not knowing how to park rigs on scene, and this is more important than ever as fewer and fewer civilians pay attention to their driving with the introduction of each new smartphone.

With each passing day, it feels like there is a greater and greater chance of getting hit by a passing vehicle, especially when we’re parked on scene. This is not even considering all those times civilian drivers don’t have the sense to slow down and give the scene a wide berth. I’m sure you all remember too vividly those instances when you actually felt the draft from their passing vehicles.

As for our own drivers’ parking decisions, I don’t know if this is a training issue or a common-sense issue or both, since every scene requires flexibility and some know-how in order to position the rigs as safely as possible. At the same time, the general rules are pretty much the same – don’t reverse if you don’t have to, protect working areas, etc.

Twice the other day, 2 different drivers did the following, exactly the same way:

Instead of parking on the wrong (oncoming) side of the street, in front of the scene, where everyone was obviously out front, and where the fire crew has deliberately left space for the ambulance with a blocking position, both drivers drove past the scene while staring straight at the scene but not recognizing the sensible spot, made a 3-point turn in the intersection without (as explicitly required by policy at every agency on Earth*) a backer (who by the way, on foot, would have been in a very dangerous situation), came nose-to-nose with the fire engine – blocking both the engine’s egress and the ambulance’s egress, meaning one of which had to reverse unnecessarily – leaving the rear patient doors and the very vulnerable act of lifting the gurney exposed to cross-traffic.

Please try to make it harder for the civilians to hit us.

*If you know about an agency that doesn’t have such a policy, I’d love to hear about it. Whether the policy is followed every single time is an entirely different matter and doesn’t interest me much. This is pretty much consistent with how I approach workplace backing situations: I’m happy to back you anywhere, anytime, even in the rain, and I won’t rat you out if you refuse my offer, but you had better not fucking hit anything or I will kill you just for the paperwork you cause me.

6 thoughts on “An example of how NOT to park”

  1. Always seemed to me that what’s important when backing isn’t whether you’re spotted, or even if you’re a good driver, but whether you accurately know your own capabilities. If you hit something, it means you thought you had it, but you didn’t, so you should probably get swatted for that. The usual “you’re right until you’re wrong” kind of thing…

    1. Funny i’m reading The Invisible Gorilla right now, and that’s about all sorts of illusions human beings have about how good they think they are at things when they’re not even close to being good.

  2. I am surprised that there is not more mention of proper etiquette for ambulance parking on all of the EMS/EMT sites that I frequent. To answer one of your questions in the post, I suspect that there is not enough training of ambulance drivers for the most part. AND a lot of inexperienced drivers are out there. I also think that there are a lot of drivers with just plain bad habits where the drivers have approached and parked at the scene incorrectly and no one has corrected them. I am curious does your state require that ambulance drives are EMTs?

    1. i believe in this state there is no requirement that an ambulance driver has to be an EMT, but i have never seen a driver without a minimum of EMT cert.

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