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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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An ambulance broke down during an emergency once every 33 days last year

There were 48 total breakdowns overall.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall

LAST YEAR DUBLIN ambulances broke down eleven times during emergency incidents.

This equates to an emergency breakdown once every 33 days.

This was out of a total of 48 breakdowns overall in 2014, TheJournal.ie can reveal. 

It has also been found that two of the ambulances in the Dublin Fire Brigade’s (DFB) fleet are ten years old, with a further four having 2006 registrations. These are all registered as ‘reserve vehicles’, although are available for use when when newer models are off the road.

These figures come from a Freedom of Information request made to Dublin City Council.

Of the ambulances operating in Dublin, it was also found that two had more than 400,000km on the clock, although DFB stated that these are subject to “the same maintenance schedule and critical checks” as other vehicles in the fleet.

The DFB have said that while there is no age at which ambulances are taken off the roads, Ireland is bound to conform by EU standards for medical vehicles and their equipment.

Reaction

Speaking about the condition of Dublin ambulances, John Kidd, president of the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association, said, “both Dublin Fire Brigade and the HSE are struggling to meet demand for calls for help. With Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance working flat out day and night in Dublin the strain is beginning to show on the vehicles.”

Kidd went on to say that the age and high mileage on the vehicles leaves the service:

operating on a knife edge all of the time.

Response 

In response to the breakdown numbers, the DFB said:

At all times patient welfare and safety are paramount to Dublin Fire Brigade and any mechanical issues with appliances are taken very seriously.

They went on to say that they have “a robust and rigorous maintenance schedule in place and emergency ambulances undergo weekly safety critical checks.”

All of their vehicles are required to obtain a certificate of road worthiness from the Department of Environment on a yearly basis.

The service responds to an average of 80,000 calls outs a year.

The DFB fleet 

There are a total of 21 ambulances in the Dublin Fire Brigade’s fleet.

These include two 2005 reg vehicles, four 2006 reg vehicles, three 2007 reg vehicles, three 2009 reg vehicles, two 2010 reg vehicles, three 2011 reg vehicles and four 2015 reg vehicles.

Earlier this year there was some controversy over potential changes to the way the ambulance service was operated in Dublin. This was over the transferral of dispatch responsibility for the ambulance service to the HSE – a move that was felt to be unnecessary.

The HSE – which provides funding for the DFB ambulance service – was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

Read: Paramedic: ‘It’s only a matter of time before an ambulance crashes or brakes fail’

Also: 48 ambulances have over 400,000km on the clock

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