ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A big discussion happening on Tuesday in the Capital Region and beyond. Do emergency vehicles like an ambulance have the right to disobey the rules of the road when they’re not responding to an emergency? The story is going viral.
It all started here on New Scotland Avenue when a city councilwoman snapped a photo of two EMTs inside of a Stewart’s and another of their ambulance double-parked outside. Her post on social media is sparking debate.
The now-deleted Facebook post by Albany Common Councilwoman Judy Doesschate that’s causing an uproar.
At last check, the post had been shared nearly a thousand times and had more than 3,000 comments, many calling for her resignation.
“A lot of these guys are working 12 to 24 hours or more and literally are running from call to call,” Daniel Shuttig, a labor relations representative with the local union, said.
Shuttig says he knows these two EMTs personally.
“They are great to work with, they’re excellent care providers and all around good people.”
He says often these workers are underpaid, overworked, and don’t get much time for a lunch or dinner break, often leading to situations like this.
“You get an emergency call where minutes matter that five minutes that it takes to run back to the ambulance that’s two or three blocks away can make all the difference in the world.”
Doesschate says when she took these pictures, she had just come from a community meeting where neighbors are concerned over the safety of this road.
She says she regrets making the post and could have gone about it differently but her message remains the same saying, “any time anyone double parks it creates a hazard for other people.”
Mohawk Ambulance stands by the two EMTs saying, “Our employees are instructed to have their emergency service vehicles readily accessible at all times, in the event that they are dispatched to a call that requires their immediate departure.”
There are state rules about this.
A policy by the Bureau of EMS says during non-emergency situations, an ambulance is not authorized to use any emergency privileges.