One of my partners has been letting me drive the ambulances! We have two types of trucks that we use in our company, and I’ve driven both. The Type II ambulance is similar to a van, while a Type III ambulance is similar to a small moving truck. EMT Basics more commonly use a type II truck, while paramedics (EMT-Ps) use type III trucks, since there is more storage and work room. Driving a 2 is easier, but working on a 3 is easier. We’ve got very narrow lanes on some of our city streets and trying to fit a medic truck down one is cause for prayer. The older trucks are diesel (more efficient but loud) and the newer ones run on gasoline (and have great pickup!).
I haven’t driven with lights and sirens, yet. I started out just going back and forth between hospital campuses without patients, but I’ve now driven twice with a patient on board (granted, it was just down the street). I wanted to get a handle on it right away because sometimes medics will call BLS for assistance (we can do CPR while they start IVs, etc.) and to have one of them drive their truck to the hospital while they both work up a patient in the back. That always leaves the other (junior) partner to bring the BLS truck to the hospital behind the medics. I didn’t want to be in that situation never having driven before.
I took some pictures from the back of the truck while I was still doing my third rider time. Once my bluetooth on my cell phone starts working, I’ll post them here. For now, here are some online photos of various trucks.
It’s bizarre. My partner and I agree: before you work on a truck, you barely notice ambulances; once you’re an EMT, you notice them everywhere! This city is swarming with us. And of course we’ve all go to do the acknowledging head nod & wave whenever we pass each other (even different companies). If you don’t, you get a reputation for being an asshole.
One more note I’d like to put out there: if you see and/or hear an ambulance coming, even if you’re not sure from which direction it’s coming, just MOVE OVER. Please. Sure, you might lose your place in the line of traffic, but you have no idea what’s happening inside that truck. There’s a reason we’ve turned on the siren, and it’s not a Dunkin Donuts run. It’s amazing how many people don’t move over for us when we’re hauling ass to get our patient to the hospital. So from me to you, thank you in advance. Our patients are grateful.