What Kind of Ambulance Driving Training Do You Get in an EMT Course?
Apr 11, 2015 | 11:00 am
When an ambulance gets a call to go to the scene of an emergency, every second matters. The person driving an ambulance needs to know how to work the lights and sirens, as well as have a feel for how the vehicle moves in order to get to a patient quickly and safely. How do EMT’s learn to drive the squads?
Where to Get Driving Requirements and Training
Driving training for an EMT can be offered from a variety of sources. Some receive their training through an EMS course while others learn through fire training. Some may simply support their local fire department. EMTs must have a good driving record prior to driving a squad, and many states will require that you get your commercial driver’s license. However, this is not yet true for all states, so you should look up your local requirements.
What’s Different About Squads Than Driving a Normal Car?
Driving an ambulance is very similar to driving any other vehicle. However, due to their larger size and weight, they need a larger turning radius and more time to brake. Getting a feel for this is an important part of EMT training when it comes to driving. EMTs will learn to back up with blind spots, avoid common collisions, how to park the squad, and how to inspect the vehicle. Since squads have patients and EMTs working in the back, the driver needs to be able to drive as smoothly as possible. Since EMTs are allowed to ignore many traffic laws, ambulances are fit with a variety of ways to alert drivers; from the regular lights and sirens to the federal queue for alerting drivers in extreme cases, these are all tools and procedures you must learn.
Ambulance Driving Laws and Techniques
There are different laws that EMTs must follow and techniques they can use to get to an emergency scene quickly. Ambulances in emergencies can drive along the yellow divider known in the business as driving in the suicide lane. They do not have to obey traffic signals, if they can safely cross. They can also break the speed limit, if necessary. Knowing when you can’t break traffic laws and when you can is a part of any EMTs training. Since each state has different laws and regulations, it’s important to look them up for your state.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of consistency in driving training from state to state or even EMT to EMT. However, now you know that there’s more to driving a squad than simply flipping a switch and going peddle to the metal. Learning how to drive, use the radio, and filling out reports might not be medically related, but they are important procedures and following protocol directly impacts the wellbeing of the patient. These standards are an important part of any EMT training. Always drive safely and think one step ahead of traffic.
If you are interested in helping others and taking on a steady job, look into EMT training today!