For many years in the emergency medical services field, the hearse was the vehicle that was most often used as an ambulance, because it was the only vehicle with room enough for a person to lie down. Few supplies were carried on board, and there was little space for attendants.

The hearse-ambulance has gone the way of its horse-drawn predecessor, and ambulances today are designed to strict government regulations based on national standards. The patient compartment has been enlarged, so that it can accommodate two EMTs and two patients on litters. Equipment and supplies are carried to enable emergency medical care at the scene and during transport. Radio communications are provided so that ambulance personnel can speak with the dispatcher, the hospital, public safety authorities, and medical control.

Our rigs, like all modern ambulances, carry a wide variety of gear for emergency medical care and transport.

Our EMTs undergo rigorous training in the use of every equipment item on the ambulance, including continuing education with the requirement to recertify every three years.

At the beginning of every duty shift, every item of equipment on every ambulance is inventoried to verify that the ambulance is fully stocked before each shift.

The following list of equipment is just a sample of the gear carried on each of our ambulances:

  • Equipment for moving patients
    • Power cot and power loading system
    • Folding stretcher ("Reeves")
    • Backboards (adult and pediatric)
    • Scoop litter (to pick up supine patients without rolling them)
    • Stair chair (to carry patients up and down stairs)
    • Pediatric chair
  • Equipment to aid respiration
    • Oxygen system in the rig
    • Portable oxygen system for use at the scene
    • Oxygen-delivery masks and nasal cannulas
    • Bag-valve masks for artificial respiration
    • Oral and nasal airways (multiple sizes)
    • Suctioning units (one installed, one portable)
  • Blood-pressure cuffs (all sizes) and stethoscopes
  • Defibrillator
  • Communications equipment
    • Police radio
    • Hospital emergency ambulance radio (HEAR)
    • Portable radios
    • Cell phone
  • Trauma kits
    • Cervical collars and head blocks for head/spine immobilization
    • Splints and padding
    • Dressings and bandages of all sizes
    • Traction splints (adult and child)
    • Heat packs, cold packs
  • Protective clothing
    • Disposable gloves
    • Face masks
    • Goggles
    • Gowns
    • Helmets
    • Work gloves
    • Extrication jumpsuits
    • Rain gear
    • Reflective vests
  • Obstetrics kit for infant delivery
  • Bedclothes (blankets, towels, sheets, pillows, and pillowcases)
  • Emesis bags and basins
  • Oral glucose for diabetics
  • Sterile water and saline solution
  • Triage kits for multiple-casualty incidents