Bi-fold garage doors installed at the new ambulance stations at Kiama and Berry are unsafe, and could come crashing down without warning, according to a paramedics' union.
There's been ongoing mechanical failures with the doors since the two stations opened in early 2019, according to Illawarra paramedic, and Health Services Union delegate, Tess Oxley.
For the past two weeks, for instance, the doors at the Berry station have been kept locked, with ambulances worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars" kept outside in the elements.
Kiama station's door is currently in operation, however this month Ms Oxley said the back-up battery exploded and caught fire - with NSW Fire and Rescue forced to respond and extinguish the flames.
"The bi-fold doors were installed at the two local stations despite NSW Ambulance knowing that issues have arisen with the doors at stations in Sydney and other regional areas," she said.
"The doors aren't fit for purpose for ambulance stations, where they are required to go up and down a much higher number of times than these doors were designed to do each day.
"So the doors are deteriorating rapidly and there are a number of safety concerns. One of the big issues is the tensile wiring used to lift and lower them - it's getting frayed and thin and is resulting in them dropping without notice."
That's exactly what happened at Bankstown ambulance station last year, which led to the doors being decommissioned and forced to stay open for some time in August until repairs were carried out.
"There's other issues too - the lasers on the doors don't always work promptly, or properly, which is leading to slower ambulance response times," Ms Oxley said.
"At Kiama, there's the added issue of the security gate at the front, which has now been replaced three times, due to malfunctioning mechanics.
"It's not good enough to force doors to stay open - or shut like at Berry in recent weeks. It's a security issue to have these vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars left in a carpark."
Ms Oxley said paramedics were concerned for their own safety; and for the safety of their patients if the issues with the doors led to slower response times.
"Paramedics are getting frustrated that there's so many issues, that keep repeating, yet the ambulance service is not listening to them," she said.
"If NSW Ambulance won't get these doors replaced, then they need to commit to a more regular maintenance schedule."
HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said he had concerns for paramedics working at stations across the state where the bi-fold doors have been installed.
"These doors are not fit for purpose - a point we have consistently made for years," he said.
"Ambulances are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and leaving them in a carpark is poor security practice.
"The doors at Berry and Kiama need to be fixed now. Sadly this is another symptom of the $30 million in NSW Ambulance budget cuts."
A NSW Ambulance spokesperson blamed the issue on recent weather conditions.
"NSW Ambulance has identified a mechanical component and power issues with station doors at Kiama and Berry following recent extreme weather conditions," the spokesperson said.
"Ambulance station doors undergo regular maintenance and monitoring which reduces problems and ensures the doors are made safe, operational and fit for purpose.
"NSW Ambulance is working with Health Infrastructure and have engaged suppliers to rectify identified problems and will undertake modifications as required as quickly and safely as possible."