EAST Coast residents yesterday expressed their opposition to Ambulance Tasmania's scheduled changes to the region's ambulance vehicle fleet.
More than 70 people protested against the replacement of the Scamander branch station's Toyota Prado four-wheel-drive, which can not carry a stretcher, with a new Mercedes ambulance and four-wheel-drive Toyota Land Cruiser at a rally at St Helens yesterday.
Break O'Day councillor and St Helens Volunteer Ambulance co-ordinator Donna Coulson said the model using the Prado had worked for a decade with no adverse effects to patients.
"Don't fix something that is not broken," she said.
"There are other pressing issues that need addressing such as pagers, training, fuel cards and radios.
"Sometimes a regional approach doesn't work in areas.
"Management need to be listening to the people on the ground actually doing the work and not making decisions that work in other countries or from their offices in the city.
"This (new) set-up has so many holes and has a potential to actually lose lives."
Ambulance Tasmania said on Saturday after a community meeting that the area's only paid paramedic would respond to callouts in the Mercedes unless four-wheel- drive access was needed.
Cr Coulson said the Prado had several occupational health and safety issues that Ambulance Tasmania needed to address as the vehicle had no airbags, ABS brakes or electric stability system.
"The community thinks it would be a fair call for management to put this proposal on hold for a 12-month period and actually keep stats on how often the Prado is needed to access cases," she said.
"These stats have never been asked for or kept so we believe management have no idea how important this is to our community, especially in our rural and remote areas, and in times of flooding, fires and restricted access."The vehicle changeover is expected to take place today.