What does an Ambulance Driver do?

M.C. Huguelet

An ambulance driver is responsible for transporting medical professionals and patients to and from the scene of a medical crisis in an emergency vehicle. He must observe all safety procedures and applicable traffic laws, sometimes while working at an extremely fast pace. Individuals who wish to become ambulance drivers must usually complete an emergency vehicle operation course and obtain some knowledge of basic first aid, though these requirements vary by state.

Ambulance drivers are responsible for transporting medical professionals and patients quickly during emergency situations.
Ambulance drivers are responsible for transporting medical professionals and patients quickly during emergency situations.

In most cases, an ambulance driver is employed by a hospital, fire department, or private emergency transport company. When his employer is called upon to respond to a medical emergency, the ambulance driver shuttles emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and any other necessary personnel to the scene of the emergency. Should the EMTs determine that the individual in crisis requires further medical attention, the ambulance driver then transports the individual and crew to the appropriate medical facility.

Mannequins are typically used when learning CPR, whether as part of an EMT training course or other first-aid class.
Mannequins are typically used when learning CPR, whether as part of an EMT training course or other first-aid class.

As the lives of patients in critical condition often depend upon immediate medical attention, emergency vehicle operation is time-sensitive work. Thus an ambulance driver must have an exhaustive knowledge of the geography of his work region. He must also be able to quickly devise alternate routes should his path be blocked by a train or a construction project. In some cases he will be required to navigate swiftly through heavy traffic. Although he may be working under a great deal of pressure, he must always seek to preserve the safety of his passengers, himself, and the other drivers on the road.

Ambulance drivers transport medics to accident scenes.
Ambulance drivers transport medics to accident scenes.

The driver’s additional duties vary depending on his training and the needs and policies of his employer. Some drivers help move patients in and out of the ambulance. Those with some medical training may at times be required to administer basic first aid, such as CPR. Many drivers are required to restock their vehicles with medical supplies after returning from an emergency site.

Ambulance drivers are typically required to complete bloodborne pathogen training.
Ambulance drivers are typically required to complete bloodborne pathogen training.

Ambulance driver requirements vary by state, but drivers must generally have a good driving record as well as a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some states require prospective drivers to complete an emergency vehicle operation class or obtain a commercial driver’s license. In many cases, drivers must also complete basic first aid training and become certified in CPR administration. Apart from these official requirements, drivers will also benefit from a strong sense of direction as well as an ability to remain calm and perform efficiently in high-pressure situations.

Some ambulance drivers are required to help move patients in and out of ambulances.
Some ambulance drivers are required to help move patients in and out of ambulances.
Ambulance drivers transport emergency personnel to the home of someone experiencing a medical episode.
Ambulance drivers transport emergency personnel to the home of someone experiencing a medical episode.
Ambulance drivers and other first responders may be required to participate in regular drills where they apply their training to a simulated emergency.
Ambulance drivers and other first responders may be required to participate in regular drills where they apply their training to a simulated emergency.

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