WJBF Extra: A Look At Ambulance Care In The CSRA - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

WJBF Extra: A Look At Ambulance Care In The CSRA

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Augusta, GA - Just about anywhere in the CSRA, you can spot an ambulance.

"We get to do some pretty interesting things. We see people, often times, at their worst. You know, we have the opportunity to be the first on scene to help somebody, to be the calming influence, if you will, and to provide some good medical care and get them to the hospital," Gold Cross EMT John Smith said.

Whether it's a car accident on a busy roadway... or a medical problem, ambulance crews respond whenever and wherever they're needed.

"Well, you know, every day is different. We never know what the calls are going to be and even when somebody calls us and says maybe they're having shortness of breath, we get there and maybe that's not what's going on," Smith said.

The job is also about timing, especially in life threatening situations. An ambulance ride could be the difference between life and death, but as crews are speeding down the road with sirens blaring and lights flashing, they aren't just thinking about the person in the back of the truck.

"Speed is good, but safety is better. We have to be really careful because people panic in front of us sometimes. They don't remember that they need to pull off to the right and give us room to get through. People have stopped right in front of me in the road and we have to zig zag and get around them," Smith said."

It happens all the time. And a lot of it is, the modern vehicles, they make them more sound proof and in doing so, they don't hear us," Gold Cross Captain Andrew Foot said.

Gold Cross officials say it's been a few years since a serious accident has happened with their vehicles, but just a few weeks ago, another company's ambulance caught fire. Nobody was seriously injured, but Gold Cross did respond to help. That's is, of course, what EMS crews are there for, but even though most EMTs have been saving lives for years, the job can still take a toll.

"You just have to work your way through it. You'll carry it for years. There are calls that I remember from 12 or 13 years ago that till this day, I can still think about, get choked up, and start crying about it," Foot said.

But for every sad ending, there are even more tales of people being saved even when it seems like there odds are stacked against them.

Smith told us about one of the days he saved a man's life.

"He was gray, he was sweating, he was having trouble breathing. I mean, they guy was 35 years old. We got him on the monitor and he was having a heart attack. He actually coded on us twice on the way to the hospital. And we got him back, able to resuscitate him, got him to the hospital. He's alive today. They were able to provide some definitive care for him. We found out later that the emergency room nurse put in her notes that the EMS Crew had saved his life. And so that's why we do what we do," Smith said.

EMS Crews want to remind you that 9-1-1 should only be called for emergency situations. They also ask that you make sure the outside of your home is marked with your house number. A lot of houses in the area are not marked, which makes it difficult for crews to respond to calls quickly.

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