All Vehicles Are Not Created Equal

Unlocking the specifics of your vehicle is key to patient care

 

 
 
 

Thom Dick | From the November 2012 Issue | Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MORE FROM:


I can't count how many times I've heard perfectly good fleet managers puzzling over the ignorance (and supposed stupidity) of perfectly good medics who didn't understand or respect their perfectly good ambulances. Nor would I care to repeat some of those medics’ sentiments about mechanics I respect to this day.

It doesn’t take a genius to pinpoint the basis for that kind of mutual misperception. And make no mistake, the fact that it happens should make perfect sense to all of us. Who teaches your medics anything about auto mechanics before they find themselves entrusted with the welfare of their first patient, partner or ambulance? Do you? Because if you do, that makes you pretty special. And if you don’t, you’re sadly underestimating the potential value of people who observe things for a living.

I’m convinced most crews don’t have any access to formal education about their ambulances’ mechanical systems, or their ambulance cots. (Those are the two very things most likely to produce career-ending, life-altering, even lethal injuries.) In any other industry, before you entrust someone you barely know with that kind of responsibility, it would make sense to teach them how stuff works. Incidentally, that should probably include a few things in addition to cots and ambulances. Radios, for instance. The physics of suction. Compressed gases, battery chemistry and fire behaviors.

That’s not all. What about those people who are never assigned a regular ambulance, you know? Who show up for duty, pick up a set of keys, grab their narcs and meet a partner du jour in the parking lot? Well, they’re like shadows. They never learn the normal behaviors of their equipment (or the people they work with). They can hide in a system for years while you wonder what they know, how carefully they check their equipment, and what kind of wear they inflict on it.

We could do much better. All vehicles are not created equal. A good crew, routinely assigned to a piece of equipment, soon becomes a system’s resident experts on that equipment.

Maybe you think that’s not important, and maybe it's not. For instance, when a vehicle’s front brakes start squealing. Just try isolating the cause for an intermittent brake warning light, with no history to guide you. Or intermittent failures to start with no circumstantial information.

See, those are both critical failures just waiting to happen. You could use a little help, don’t you think?




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Vehicle Ops, Ambulances, vehicle operations, ambulances, 2012 buyer's guide, Jems Features

 
Author Thumb

Thom Dick

has been involved in EMS for 43 years, 23 of them as a full-time EMT and paramedic in San Diego County. He's currently the quality care coordinator for Platte Valley Ambulance, a hospital-based 9-1-1 system in Brighton, Colo. Contact him at boxcar_414@comcast.net.

BROWSE FULL BIO & ARTICLES >

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Image Trend: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ImageTrend just challenged NEMSIS TAC and a couple others.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.?

A.J. Heightman participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a big way!
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Details on Discipline Released in D.C. Investigation

Interim fire chief claims punishment was not severe enough.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters Recovering from Injuries

One of the four remains in critical condition.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >