vehicle equipped for transporting and caring for ill and wounded people

An ambulance is a type of that is designed to take people who are sick or injured to a hospital or other medical facility. Ambulances help people who are involved in life-threatening emergencies. Examples of life-threatening emergencies include hear attacks,seizures,asthma attacks,broken bones,injuries from Motor Vehicle accidents,falls and trouble breathing among others. Ambulances and other Medical vehicles have specialized equipment that helps in these emergencies.

A UK Mercedes-Benz Sprinter ambulance in London.
An ambulance in Rome, Italy

The first ambulances were used on battlefields. They were carts pulled by horses that were used to take wounded soldiers to field hospitals. Horse-drawn ambulances were common in Europe and North America in the 19th century. Automobiles replaced horses in the early 1900s. Modern ambulances have equipment that help them deal with many situations. They can provide first aid or other emergency care. Ambulances and other medical vehicles have specialized emergency lights,sirens and horns to warn people that they are coming down the road. Ambulances normally have Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or Paramedics working in them.

Ambulances are normally called by dialing a special emergency number. This number is different for each country. In the United Kingdom, the number is 999. In the United States, the number is 911; In Europe, the number is 112. A call to any of these numbers connects the caller to a dispatcher. This person then sends an ambulance or another Medical vehicle to the scene.

Crew change

An ambulance usually has two crew members. One person drives while the other looks after the patient in the back. A paramedic will have at least a year of medical training. They can do fairly advanced treatment. Not all ambulances have paramedics on them. In the United States, some may have Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Emergency Care Assistants (ECAs) can be found in the United Kingdom. In some countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, ambulances may have doctors or nurses on board.

Equipment change

In the past, ambulances only gave patients a ride to hospital. They only carried a small amount of first aid equipment . This is still true in some parts of the world. Most modern ambulances will have more equipment and medicine. In some countries, an ambulance is like a mobile doctor's clinic.

Ambulances or other Medical vehicles have some or all of the following equipment on board:

  • Collar: A special collar used to hold a person so they can not move their neck. This is used if it is thought that they may have damaged their backbone.
  • Defibrillator: An electric machine that delivers electricity and restarts a heart that has stopped beating normally. Some defibrillators are connected to a heart monitor and use Manual Paddles whereas an Automated Defibrillator has voice commands and tells the emergency workers and bystanders to stand back so that a shock can be delivered.
  • Nitrous oxide: Also known as "laughing gas". This gas is used to reduce pain.
  • Heart monitor: This machine shows how well a heart is beating. As explained above, a Heart Monitor can have a Defibrillator connected to it.
  • Oxygen cylinders: If a person is having trouble breathing, it often helps to give them oxygen from a cylinder.
  • Splints: These hold an arm or leg in place if a bone is broken. They stop the broken bone from moving and getting worse.
  • Stretcher: A stretcher is used to carry the patient in and out of the ambulance.
  • Wheelchair: A chair with wheels used to carry a patient.
  • Medications: Medications are found on Ambulances and other medical vehicles. Medications include Cardiac Drugs,Anti seizure medications and others.

Air ambulance change

A UK helicopter ambulance

Air ambulances became more common in the late 20th century. They are helicopters that carry much of the same equipment as a normal ambulance. In the United States, the Coast Guard runs a public air ambulance service using helicopters. These are often needed when emergencies happen at sea. There are also privately owned air ambulance services that provide for a wider range of needs, including international transport. Air ambulances are very useful when an emergency happens in a place that is hard to get to quickly by ground travel.

Air ambulances are very important in countries with low population density (few people, living in a vast area). Examples of these areas are Canada, Russia, Sweden or Finland. They can often save the life of a patient who would otherwise die because they could not get to a hospital quickly by other means.