By Lee F. Brown – firstname.lastname@example.org
ESCANABA — Unlike semi-truck, school bus and limousine drivers, the drivers of ambulances are not required to obtain special licensing or certification before driving, an official said Wednesday.
According to Bob Struck, executive director of UP-EMS in Marquette, ambulance drivers need no special license. “All ambulance services are required to have their personnel complete some sort of training program,” Struck said. However, the specific program is not designated by the state.
Monday, an accident involving an ambulance and logging truck claimed the lives of OSF St. Francis registered nurse Lisa Hanson and patient Carrie Roberts in Skandia Township. At about 3 p.m., the Rampart EMS ambulance carrying Roberts from OSF to Marquette General Hospital collided with a stationary logging truck in what police have described as an “offset rear-end” collision.
The ambulance’s driver, Natalia Jauquet, a registered EMT, was seriously injured and transported to MGH. Paramedic Ryan Peterson was treated and released. Logging truck driver Ronald Constantino was not injured.
Some groups choose to follow Firefighter Training Council emergency driving programs while others choose private programs, Struck explained. In either case, the programs are required to follow a series of guidelines established by the state — even though a special license is not given out.
But how the guidelines are followed is up to the group providing the training. “That becomes a local issue,” Struck said. UP-EMS, a nonprofit group, provides assistance to primarily local emergency medical services. “Our role in life is to try and help small communities,” he explained. “Typically, EMS personnel are aware of the dangers in transporting patients,” Struck said. “It’s a tragic event.”
“When something like this happens, it affects everybody throughout the U.P. All the EMS services are saddened by it.”
Venetia Bryers, Rampart EMS, Inc. CEO, said in a prepared statement, “All employees of Rampart EMS are required to meet or exceed CEVO II (Coaching the Emergency Vehicle Operator) training requirements before they are permitted to drive an ambulance. Rampart standards for those driving ambulances have been stricter than state guidelines for many years. Rampart has mandated CEVO training since 1995.”
CEVO training is a National Safety Council training program with course content including adverse weather conditions, passing and lane changes, avoiding backing incidents, rural and urban driving, traffic hazard identification and vehicle placement in traffic. The program is typically purchased from the NSC for use by individual groups or regional trainers.
State police investigating the accident say their report will be presented to the Marquette County prosecutor. The results of accident reconstruction, required in fatal accidents, are expected to be obtained within the next two weeks. Investigators had been hoping to interview the driver of the ambulance. However, Jauquet’s attorney has announced his client will give no statement or be interviewed at this time.