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Ore. FFs use transit bus to transport patient to hospital

Portland firefighters faced a 20-minute ambulance delay while treating a patient experiencing chest pains

By Bill Carey

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland firefighters had to improvise when transporting a patient to the hospital on New Year’s Eve.

Firefighters were dispatched to a man who was experiencing chest pains on a TriMet bus near Southeast 94th Avenue and Foster Road. There were no available ambulances, KOIN reported.

Facing a 20-minute wait for an ambulance, the firefighters decided to use the transit bus itself, with firefighters staying on the bus with the patient and a fire apparatus leading the way to the hospital.

“I call it a creative win by the crew on scene,” Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Rick Graves said. “It is unfortunate that that was the reality. But we’re tasked with solving problems.”

Graves said the incident highlights the lack of ambulances that is causing a strain on first responders.

“In particular, the AMR and paramedics who are driving around the white ambulances, they run from call to call to call and they are doing what they can,” Grave said. “It would be nice if there were more paramedics to house double paramedics, white boxes of help, but we just do not have that.”