A service I work for as recently been dispatching us emergency to another city to stand by because they are out of ambulances. there are NO calls holding, they just have no available ambulances. is this even legal?? I think its highly dangerous and wrong!!

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What state are you in?


Even if it is technically legal under the state traffic code, it is an absolute failure in front of a jury.  If you hurt somebody (or wreck somebody's car) while responding hot to "not a call" you are, legally speaking, dead meat.


In most states you can only exercise your emergency vehicle privilege in response to an emergency call or while transporting a patient.

Oh, please tell me that just because the dispatcher tells you it's lights-and-siren doesn't mean you listen to them. Dispatch is meant to act as a guide, not a command you must obey.

I don't! But my coworkers do :( I think management tells the dispatchers to tell us respond emergency. My philosophy is, if something happens it would be my license no matter what dispatch told me to do. I also disagree with every call, excluding interfacility transfers, being responded to emergency. FYI this is the first service I've worked format as such policies.

Find a new service.  These guys are not very smart, and are a disaster waiting to happen.

The industry has moved past the mindset of lights n' sirens on every call.  Moving units to provide coverage while using lights n' sirens is not appropriate.  The risks are not worth the benefits.


Perhaps before you is an opportunity to effect a positive change within your agency.  A review of state statutes, case law and articles in trade journals (EMS, fire and LEO) could provide a clearer and more current understanding of lights n' siren responses.  The expenditure of some of your time and effort to provide a logical and supported presentation to leadership my improve your agencies policies and procedures and the quality of the services they provide your community.


Or you could pack it up and keep looking for something better.

There is no convincing these people that what they do is wrong. plans are in the works to not work here anymore. until then I follow state rules not employer rules!

That's unfortunate that your employers would not be receptive to informative and cited input.

Good Luck in your future ventures.

I am not surprised by this at all. I could write a entire book on things some private ambulance companies do that are dangerous, demeaning, and unlawful.

Your best option is to move on and work some where else. When management fingers out that you are not responding to post they will be childishly angry.


Also Happy Thanksgiving and stay safe!!

Sadly I'm not surprised either.  One of my former employers had contracts with several municipalities that guaranteed an 8 minute response time regardless of the nature.  We were encouraged by dispatchers, over a taped frequency, to "do your best," or "impress me."  The service used a low performing street corner deployment plan. If it took longer than 8 minutes, dispatchers were blamed for not moving magnets correctly.  Encouraging anyone to drive fast for any reason is dangerous and silly.  

I'm surprised, That in a land that seems to use lights and sirens in EMS for nearly everything that this is a problem. It is actually a permitted reason for using L&S and exceeding the limit/ crossing lights etc when moving medical equipment or personnel to where they are needed.

Fear of litigation because of a negligent crash is overkill I believe. 

Traveling light and sirens is about safe and expedient passage not warp speed. Careful uninterrupted passage is the aim, not running traffic off the road.

More importantly is addressing the reasons why the other town has no ambulances.

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