As part of our Emergency Service Heroes campaign, we wanted to get to know all of the different emergency services a little better. We’ve already taken a deeper look at mountain rescue services and the fire and rescue teams - next up, we’re going to learn more about the heroic work that the ambulance service carry out each and every day to keep us safe.

What is the ambulance service?

The ambulance service is the emergency response function of the NHS. Staffed by paramedics and emergency care assistants, ambulance service teams are highly trained and can provide medical assistance to those who are ill, injured or have been in an accident, before transporting them to hospital for further treatment.

What are the different roles in the ambulance service?

Generally, each ambulance is crewed by two people - a paramedic and an emergency care assistant. The paramedic is the most senior member of the team and receives in-depth training to allow them to provide emergency medical assistance in a range of situations. An emergency care assistant will help the paramedic when required, as well as dealing with patients’ relatives and carers, moving patients and ensuring that the ambulance is kept clean and fully stocked in between call outs.

You can find out more information about paramedics and emergency care assistants over on the NHS careers website.

What paramedic equipment is used?

Ambulances are equipped with a huge range of equipment to ensure that paramedics and emergency care assistants are able to treat a wide range of medical conditions. Some of the equipment you’d find in an ambulance includes:

What is paramedic training like?

Paramedic training is long and thorough to equip paramedics with the skills and knowledge they need to assist in many emergency medical situations. Budding paramedics are required to either take a university degree in the field, or will spend a number of years training ‘on the job’ with a qualified ambulance crew. Paramedics are also required to have a good level of physical fitness and a valid UK driving license. Paramedic courses are highly competitive and require long term commitment.

Emergency care assistants also go through an intense training course which lasts around three months, and will continue to develop their skills and knowledge whilst working.

Ambulance facts

Here are some interesting facts about the ambulance service and ambulance history, to help you understand more about the fantastic work carried out every day by this service:

  • Ambulance call out statistics show that there were 10.7 million calls to the ambulance service in England alone in 2015.
  • 72.5% of the most serious emergency calls have an ambulance on-scene within eight minutes.
  • The ambulance service began in 1946 and there are now 10 NHS ambulance trusts that cover the whole of England.
  • The ambulance service isn’t just made up of paramedics and emergency care assistants - ambulance staff can be found in the 999 call centre, and manning the 111 medical advice line.

How do I contact the ambulance service?

If you’re injured, ill or in a life-threatening situation, you can access the ambulance service by dialing ‘999’ and asking for an ambulance.

If you’ve had a great experience with the ambulance service, or you just want to help say a big thank you to our emergency services, make sure to place your vote for our Emergency Service Heroes finalists. Simply like and share the team you’d like to see win a £2000 Peli Products bundle to give them the best shot of winning. Head over to our Emergency Service Heroes page now to cast your vote!