Most members of the public will only call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency once in their lifetime. As a result, many know relatively little about the system which is activated in an emergency, the people who answer the phone, providers who respond, and why ambulances look the way they do.
Ambulances purchased by federal, state, county, and local municipal services are often funded by tax payers. Most are custom built on a heavy duty truck chassis. They are large, expensive, and can be dangerous. Some ambulances are instantly identifiable by their emergency markings, while others may look like mobile billboards. They all seem to have plenty of lights and sirens; but across the country, they are involved in crashes on a daily basis and are frequently struck by vehicles passing by the scene of an emergency; sometimes with fatal results,
According to the US Department of Labor, EMS providers suffer a work related injury at three times the rate of other occupations.
For the public, this web site includes information about ambulance design standards (interior and exterior), emergency medical dispatch, and EMS provider safety. Readers may want to begin with the following pages: