Ground ambulances have evolved from transport vehicles into sophisticated and efficient mobile patient care areas where lifesaving maneuvers can be performed. Federal standards provide specifications for ambulance construction, and vehicles that meet these specifications can display the "star of life" emblem. Nontransporting vehicles, such as rescue response units, carry personnel and equipment to the scene but cannot transport patients. Type I ambulances have a conventional cab and chassis fitted with a modular patient care compartment; there is no passageway between the driver's and the patient's compartments.Type II ambulances are van-type vehicles; the body and the cab form a single unit, and most models have a raised roof for extra stand-up space. Type III ambulances are larger units with a forward cab connected by a walk-through passage to the patient care compartment. The most important aspect of ambulance design is that the attendants must be able to provide airway and ventilatory support while safely transporting the patient. Basic life support (BLS) ambulances carry equipment appropriate for attendants trained at the EMT-B level. Advanced life support (ALS) ambulances are equipped for EMT-Ps or other health care personnel capable of providing drug therapy and performing other advanced medical procedures. Ground transportation is appropriate for the majority of ill or injured patients, especially in urban and suburban areas. Air transport should be considered if the time elapsed before definitive care is important and air transport would shorten that interval.
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