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B) We also try to control the inside environment of the ambulance for the comfort of our patients. During periods where outside temperatures are such that the interior of the ambulance can cool down or heat up rapidly, we try to avoid creating a situation where our patients may be exposed to these same variations. In cases of traumatic injury, we must thoroughly examine our patients and frequently remove much of their clothing. After examination and treatment, the patient must be immobilized and prepared for transport.Keeping a patient warm is a fundamental part of the treatment protocol for trauma victims and failure to control the environmental temperatures can have negative consequences for patient outcomes. For obvious reasons, we would not want to place an 85 year old grandmother with a spinal injury on an aluminum stretcher and plastic backboard that is at anything less than 60 degrees.Imagine yourself in this situation and I think you will quickly understand.
C) The ambulances have a large amount of electronic devices and technology systems that run off of the 12 volt DC power system. Many of these devices and systems (including computers) continue to run and consume power even if the ambulance is shut down. When the engine idles, it is also keeping the electrical system charged and all of the on-board systems ready for action. If these items are left operating for longer periods of time without the engine running, we risk depleting the 12 volt batteries and not having sufficient reserve capacity to actually start the engine when needed. This is the same reason why the ambulances are connected to a 120 volt AC powered charging system as soon as they return to the station and are parked in the apparatus bay.
D) Believe it or not, but while idling, the diesel engines in our ambulances use very little fuel. We certainly are aware of your concerns and we try to avoid waste in all of our daily operations. However, for the reasons stated above, we feel that idling is a necessary practice in certain situations.
When approaching law enforcement and other emergency vehicles, tow trucks, road machinery or highway construction or maintenance vehicles (that are stopped on or near a highway and are using flashing emergency lights), you must move into a lane not nearest the stopped vehicle and travel in that lane until you have gone by the stopped vehicle(s). If it is unsafe to move into another lane, slow down until you have passed the stopped vehicle(s).