A paramedic who had to visit multiple petrol stations before she could fill up her ambulance has asked if panic buyers ‘forget we need to attend emergencies’.
Jennifer Ward, 21, spent an hour and a half struggling to top up her vehicle with diesel while her fuel tank gauge got lower and lower.
The apprentice paramedic from Norwich said the experience gave her ‘unneeded anxiety’ and left her and a colleague angered and annoyed as they failed to find a pump where they could successfully refuel.
She has since questioned whether panic buyers forget about the needs of emergency workers and urged people to be ‘thoughtful’.
Jennifer and Gary Dury began their shift in Norwich, Norfolk with a full tank on September 24. But as they were travelling more than 250 miles to treat patients as far away as Basildon and Southend, in Essex, they were left needing a refill.
The pair work for Medicare EMS Group UK Limited, an independent emergency care provider specialising in events, and use public petrol pumps to fuel their ambulances.
Jennifer said: ‘It’s ambulance courtesy if your vehicle is low to leave it full for the next day. We had about a quarter of a tank left after our lunch break and we’d been hearing all day about the shortage so we decided to refill.
‘We went to five different petrol stations. It took us about an hour and a half to find somewhere to fill up. We were still available for call-outs the whole time so if something came up we’d have to abandon our queue.
‘It was annoying, but we were lucky that we didn’t get a call during that time. It’s an added anxiety on top of our day that we just don’t need.
‘It angers you when you see the photos of people panic buying.
‘We don’t do this job for social media presence, and I didn’t write the post for attention. I did it because it’s an important issue and we need to take it seriously.’
The pair were finally able to refuel at a lorry pump in Chelmsford, Essex at around 7pm.
But said they would now have to try and plan their day around where accepts blue light vehicles as a priority.
Her complaint comes as photos emerged of selfish drivers filling multiple jerry cans, despite there being huge queues to top up at stations struggling to keep up with demand.
She stressed anyone who needs an ambulance should still call for one, and she’s pleased her struggle for fuel didn’t impact her ability to treat anyone.
Jennifer’s post on Facebook said: ‘Imagine having to go to five different petrol stations to get diesel for your ambulance. Do people forget we need it to actually attend our emergencies or?
‘We’re already struggling enough as a service without the added pressure of not knowing where our next stop for fuel will be. Be kind, be caring, be thoughtful.’
Nurses, care workers, teachers, ambulance staff and police are among the key workers who have been left stranded in recent days as pumps across the country run dry.
Other blue light workers have expressed their anger at panic buyers.
Chanel Bishop added: ‘Same problem we had today on our ambulance, and we still left our shift without fuel! And lots of others! It was awful!
‘Let’s just hope our ambulances can get fuel tomorrow otherwise lots of people will be in big trouble.’
But these critical workers could be given exclusive access to petrol pumps under an emergency plan to ease the crisis.
Government sources said designating certain stations for key workers is being kept as a back-up option if panic buying does not stop.
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