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EMT Exam: Maintaining Equipment Levels and Vehicle Readiness

For the EMT exam, you need to understand vehicle readiness. Professional emergency vehicles must be stocked with the appropriate type and levels of equipment. For ambulances, your agency or your regulatory body may have specific requirements for what needs to be available. Medical supplies, such as medications, often have expiration dates that require you to replace them when necessary.

The ambulance should be cleaned continuously. You transport sick patients, and the patient compartment is an ideal place to grow contaminants. Use approved cleaning solutions and techniques to wipe down the sides and floor of the patient compartment. A solution made of one part sodium hypochlorite (bleach) mixed in ten parts water can be used to disinfect carrying equipment such as gurneys and long backboards.

Pay attention to so-called “grab” surfaces — door handles, side bars, and, in the front of the ambulance, control buttons and switches.

The vehicle itself should be checked daily for its ability to be driven. You don’t need to be a mechanic to do this; a daily operational checklist may include activities such as

  • Inspecting common fluid levels, such as oil, radiator, brake, and power steering fluids.

  • Inspecting the tires for wear and tear.

  • Starting the engine and checking the fuel level.

  • Turning on the emergency lights and noting if any have failed.

  • Testing the siren, air horn, and regular vehicle horn.

  • Checking the running lights, signal lights, and headlights.

  • Putting the vehicle in drive and testing the parking brake and vehicle brakes.

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