You expect emergency responders to park wherever they can when it comes down to saving lives. You do not expect emergency responders to park on the middle of High Street in downtown Carlisle simply to grab a pizza.
Yet that’s what happened Friday afternoon.
Two members of a Cumberland Goodwill EMS ambulance crew flipped on their emergency lights, parked in the middle of the street, then walked into a pizzeria where they waited to pick up an order. When asked if it’s typical for ambulances to be parked in the middle of a street for a pizza run, one of the crew members said that “sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”
That attitude is disappointing.
It’s also illegal. A Sentinel investigation into the incident revealed that ambulances cannot park in the middle of a street unless it’s emergency-related. There are reasons why an ambulance will park in the middle of a street. It may park to force traffic to avoid an obstruction ahead. It may park to respond to a call. Ambulances cannot disregard traffic law for pizza.
To his credit, Cumberland Goodwill EMS Assistant Chief Nathan Harig dealt with the issue aggressively.
“I’m shocked to see that,” he told The Sentinel. “We don’t tolerate this behavior. I apologize for this profusely.”
The duo were suspended without pay, he said, and are facing termination pending a hearing.
Every time an EMT parks an ambulance in the middle of a street, turns on the emergency lights and grabs a pizza, it makes it that much more difficult for those of us outside the emergency-response world to respect how they conduct themselves.
So many emergency responders risk life and limb to serve and protect us. They do jobs that require bravery and skill. But behavior like this, which at the minimum is bad form and at worst is illegal, undermines the credibility of everyone in uniform.source