Report Number: 11-0000179
Report Date: 05/14/2011
[ ] Brackets denote reviewer de-identification.
A municipal ALS equipped engine and a third service county ALS ambulance were dispatched by the same dispatch, on the same radio channel, to a local park for a trauma patient. While enroute, and less than two miles from our station, we approached a heavy traffic intersection, which is blind to the south side. Upon approach, the [brand deleted] signal preemption system (which both the engine and ambulance are equipped with) was delayed in capturing the light. The driver of the engine began to reduce speed and decelerate toward the intersection. As we approached the intersection we captured the light with the signal preemption system, giving us a GREEN light, but for whatever reason, the driver of the engine made a complete stop at the intersection. Just then the ambulance blew through the intersection, not stopping for the RED light. To our surprise, we didn't hear or see this ambulance until they were in the intersection. Only because of the driver's situational awareness and intuition (gut feeling) did we come to a complete stop to avoid a collision.
Further details about the incident are that the ambulance was dispatched using an Automatic Vehicle Recognition (AVR) system. The system dispatched an ambulance that does not normally respond to this area. They were also responding from an area that was completely unexpected. Under normal circumstances they would have approached this intersection from a different location.
After interviewing the driver of the ambulance, several reasons were given to the near miss incident. They were unfamiliar with our response direction and thought we were approaching from behind them. When they saw us at the intersection they thought we were stopped and letting them through, even though they had the red light. They were uncertain of the location of the call due to the park being on a corner lot and having access from multiple directions/streets.
1.) SLOW DOWN, approach intersections with caution and ALWAYS COME TO A COMPLETE STOP FOR RED LIGHTS.
2.) Be familiar with where units are responding from.
3.) If responding from out of your area or into an unfamiliar area, announce your location.
4.) Don't ultimately trust the signal preemption system, as there may still be vehicles proceeding through the intersection once you have captured the traffic light.
5.) Know where you are going and have situational awareness of other units responding to the same call as your unit.
To view the whole report