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First responders finding drive times increasing due to Brent Spence construction

What was an ambulance ride a week ago could now force first responders to use AirCare due to construction on the Brent Spence Bridge. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - You may want to use extra caution as you navigate the construction in and around the Brent Spence Bridge.

If you get in an accident, it could be a while before firefighters or paramedics can get to you, and what was an ambulance ride a week ago could now force first responders to use AirCare.

Local 12 went on a ride along with first responders, and as she returned from a typical run with a fire and EMS team, AirCare was called to take a patient from St. Elizabeth in Edgewood to UC Medical Center.

It's all because the gridlock in and around the bridge is making it tough for crews to get to patients who call for help and transport them anywhere they need to go for medical care.

Ernie Dodson is an EMT and driver. When asked if he was dreading what's to come, he said, "Yes. It's only gonna get worse."

In just the few days since the major bridge construction started, the fire and EMS teams in northern Kentucky transporting to the St. Elizabeth Healthcare emergency rooms say they are seeing their drive times triple.

It's even longer if patients need to go north across the river to trauma centers at UC or Children's Hospital.

So we asked them to take us on a demonstration run to see what they would encounter and just how much longer the average run is taking right now.

They left Edgewood on a typical loop that would take at the most 10 to 15 minutes.

"We are basically a rolling emergency room," said EMT and firefighter from the Independence district Rick Sturgeon.

Heart monitors , medication and communication for survival are critical in a traffic jam.

If you are in one of those jams, Phil Deitz from the Independence Fire and EMS says to just slow down, pull over and don't slam on your breaks.

Just like the rest of us finding our travel times going up, these emergency crews are too. A run that normally would take 15 minutes took more than an hour.

If it's your loved one in trouble here's what you can expect to hear from transport teams:

"If they need us, call us and we will try our best to get them to an appropriate hospital. But with traffic, it may be difficult," said Dodson.

Dodson says he's been driving an ambulance 17 years, and this is the worst of the traffic gridlock he's seen.

The dispatch teams who send for medical care are also now using traffic cameras and other apps to try and guide teams when they are dispatched to these high-traffic areas.

Fire and EMS teams say they will do their best to take you to the hospital they request, but they admit they are now telling patients and family members if it could take too long for proper patient care to get there.

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