Andy the Ambulance meets the school kids on a second outing

“Andy the Ambulance,” a radio-controlled animated robot about the height of the average preschooler, is the newest addition to the American Medical Response team. He is posted at the Medic 21 station in Lihu’e and responds to mainly educational affairs.

Andy was one of the stars at the Lights on Rice parade last Friday, and this Thursday morning, he stopped by ‘Ae Kamali’i Preschool in Lihu’e to help Paramedic Danny Sagadraca and Injury Prevention Coordinator Jovita Sagadraca teach about 25 students about safety.

The husband-and-wife team are starting off with school visits to educate kids and families about preventable injuries caused by falling down, crossing the street and riding in vehicles.

The three led the class in song: “Before I cross the street/ I’m as careful as can be/ I look left and right and left again/ And cross when it is free.”

“He’s my friend,” one preschooler exclaimed, as the whole group became transfixed by Andy’s red and white flashing lights and big, friendly eyes that looked both ways and winked.

Andy can blink, wink, move his eyes and “talk” (via a two-way radio system linked to his operator). He has flashing lights and a working siren, and he’s being fitted with a cassette tape player and AM/FM radio, too.

After at least a year of grant-writing by Danny Sagadraca, AMR finally got Andy shipped to Kaua’i from a safety education company in Indiana called Robotronics, Inc., paid for by a $3,000 federal grant administered through the state Department of Transportation.

Sagadraca said he first found out about the robotic ambulances at a 1998 EMS Today conference in Colorado, when one of them started following him around and talking to him.

Andy is just the right size to teach younger kids, one educational possibility is at the high school level with drivers’ education classes, the Sagadracas said.

Teachers and community groups who want Andy the Ambulance to make a visit may please call Jovita Sagadraca at 651-8172 or the ambulance station at 245-7000.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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