I have no idea how this situation did not turn out worse. We are a small rural department, covering 310 sq mi from two stations. We have one new subdivision of our district that is extrememly difficult to navigate. I have driven around in there several times both in fire appartus and my POV trying to become familiar. We were paged to a stroke at an address in the subdivision, which consists of all dirt roads, many requiring four-wheel drive. I looked up the address in our map page and gave the driver directions, as we began heading east he read off names of roads that we were passing. Not a single one was on the map page that I was looking at. After much frustration with the map book I called dispatch and requested a cross-street and directions. We eventually found the address after 20 more minutes (what seemed like 2 hrs) By this time the chopper was circling overhead waiting for a positive ID on the house. I was the only EMT from the FD responding and assumed primary patient care. I quickly discovered that the pt was not having a stroke, but experiencing an acute MI with a very pertinent medical history. We did a load and go after taking one look at the EKG. I spent a lot of time fuming over the delayed response and the map book. After looking at it myself and having my Chief look at it we discovered that it was completely wrong… the other thing we discovered was that it had been printed off of www.mapquest.com by one of the members (no wonder it was wrong.) How is it that we could trust an internet site to have correct maps for a very confusing, brand-new subdivision in the middle of nowhere? Also, while enroute we were driving at high speeds on a dirt road when a loose horse charged straight at the ambulance and the driver was forced to take the ditch, narrowly missing the suicidal horse. I was the only one wearing a seatbelt and the firefighter in the rear jumpseat was thrown from the seat into the side door, luckily not recieving any injuries. As I said, I have no idea how this didn’t turn out worse.
Lessons learned: – Get your maps from a reliable source. – When is doubt, ask dispatch for directions. – Where your seatbelt – And ALWAYS BE ALERT!