If you're a new EMT or are even in the process of EMT certification training to become an EMT, one of the many responsibilities you'll likely have as part of your job is that of safely operating an ambulance to transport patients from the scene to a local medical treatment facility. In emergency situations, the dangers during transport can be quite serious. For this reason, there are some important dos and don'ts that all EMTs should keep in their minds each time they transport a patient.
DO Transport Family Members in a Separate Vehicle
Children, family members, and loved ones who are not injured should ride in an accompanying vehicle whenever possible. Except in rare circumstances, such as a life-or-death emergency, this is ideal not only for keeping loved ones safer but also leaving more space for EMTs to assist the patient in the back of the ambulance when necessary.
DON'T Forget to Properly Secure All Equipment
While traffic accidents are a leading cause of ambulance-related injuries and deaths, injuries can also occur when heavy equipment within the ambulance itself isn't properly secured or tied down. In these situations, all it takes is for the ambulance driver to hit a large bump or pothole for that equipment to tip over onto a patient or fellow EMT/paramedic. At the start of each shift and periodically throughout each shift, EMTs should perform assessments of the ambulance to ensure all equipment is properly tied down.
DO Request Officer Assistance, if Possible
Sometimes, EMTs have no choice but to provide emergency ambulance transport immediately. However, in situations where there are already officers on-the-scene and staffing is adequate, EMTs may request an "escort" of sorts to the nearest hospital. Having police cars or other emergency vehicles both in front of and behind the transporting ambulance is a great way to reduce the chances of an accident.
DON'T Forget to Utilize Ambulance Lab Belts
All too often, EMTs are so focused on caring for their patients that they fail to take care of themselves inside the ambulance. During transport, provided lab belts should always be used by EMTs. These are designed to protect EMTs and paramedics in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, some EMTs and paramedics don't bother to wear them because they feel it inhibits their ability to reach certain equipment or care for their patient. Still, these lab belts should be worn as often as possible.