Behind the scenes with our ambulance expert

Every month, EMS organises dozens of medical transports around the world – and a significant number of them take place by road as well as air. Keeping a fleet of ambulances on the road and ready to go at a moment’s notice is a pretty big undertaking (to put it mildly). One of the people who makes it happen is our Ambulance and Warehouse Manager, Jeffrey. We asked him to tell us more about how he makes everything run smoothly.

Behind the scenes

Hi Jeffrey. Welcome to the blog.

You’re welcome! Thanks for asking me on.

Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I head up the ambulance and warehouse management team. Most days you’ll find me at our European HQ. And my job is to make sure that both our road ambulances and our Medical Escort service are fully equipped and ready for action. I also have IT expertise, so I help out with software and technology.

Does EMS have its own ambulances?

Yes. We have a fleet of ground ambulances here in the Netherlands, all owned by EMS, which are a combination of high-care and MICU (mobile intensive care unit) vehicles. We also have vehicles on standby in two hubs near the Mediterranean: Barcelona and Venice. And then we have a network of partners around the world who supply us with similar, state-of-the-art ambulances.

Are they basically hospital ambulances?

People often think that, but no. They’re specifically designed for long-distance medical transports. A typical repatriation journey might be, say, 2,000km, across several borders and time zones. Ours are Mercedes-Benz vehicles and they come with air suspension, anti-decubitus mattresses and worldwide radio systems – basically everything you’d need for a long, medically-secure journey.

What else do they carry?

They’re capable of handling high-care and intensive-care situations. Standard equipment includes things like IV lines, oxygen support, evacuation wheelchair, PPE and backup power. But we can bring in specialist technical items if needed, such as oxygenators, nebulisers and defibrillator equipment.

How quickly can they be on the road?

Very quickly, because we ready them ahead of time. When a call comes in, we just have to mobilise the crew and receive our route. Obviously, not all repatriations are time-sensitive emergencies. Some are international transfers that we plan in advance. But we’re set up for extremely fast turnarounds.

How do you make that happen?

Great planning! Whenever an ambulance returns to HQ, we immediately prepare it for the next assignment, so: deep clean, mechanical checks, medical inventory. We want it to be as good as new by the time the next call comes in.

What do the checks involve?

It starts with a deep-clean – we have a team who wash and disinfect the interiors. Then a mechanical check-up – that’s everything from checking the engine and fluid levels to tyre pressure, door mechanisms, floodlights, siren and blue lights. If there are any significant issues, our Mercedes-Benz mechanics are nearby to assist. Lastly – and very importantly – we go through the whole onboard medical list and make sure everything is in date and fully stocked.

Finally, what do you most enjoy about your role?

I think it has to be the difference it makes to people’s lives. Every day, our ambulances are heading out to help patients and families in really difficult, stressful situations – accidents, medical emergencies, repatriations for crucial operations. Each part of the EMS process has a role to play in helping people get quickly and safely to life-changing medical help. It’s great to be a part of that.

Contact us

If you need to talk, we’re ready to help! You can reach our repatriation experts by phone, email or WhatsApp – just head to our Contact page for all the details. You can also get a quick, no-obligation cost estimate for your transport with our online pricing calculator.

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