The Department of Health is responsible for the inspection of all ambulances and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Emergency Response Vehicles. As part of the ongoing efforts to improve the EMS system in the District, the Department of Health has instituted a new EMS Vehicle Inspection Program. This program now includes the inspection of:
- Ground Ambulances
- Air Ambulances
- EMS First Responder Vehicles
The program inspects all of these vehicles to make sure they have the minimum equipment required by the Department of Health. This minimum equipment list is adopted from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Joint Policy Statement "Equipment for Ambulance" standard (revised January 2014). The ACS standard is included in the downloadable documents below. This standard has been endorsed by a number of EMS organizations, including:
- American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma
- American College of Emergency Physicians
- National Association of EMS Physicians
- Emergency Medical Services for Children
- National Association of EMS Officials
The Department of Health created a Gap Analysis (available below) to identify the differences between the old ambulance equipment requirements, the ACS standard, and the new equipment requirements. The policy that outlines the inspection program as well as a handbook to help EMS agencies prepare and successfully complete the inspection process were created and are available below.
The inspection program begins by completing an application (available below). Once the application is received by the Department of Health, an inspector will contact the agency to set up an appointment to have the vehicle inspected. The vehicle will be inspected and if it is found to meet the standard, it will be certified as an EMS Response Vehicle. The inspection forms used by the Department of Health are available for download below.
All certified EMS response vehicles in the District are expected to be maintained and equipped according to District standards. To provide a level of assurance that these vehicles are maintained properly, they are subject to unannounced inspections at any time. If the vehicle fails the unannounced inspection it is removed from service and the certification is withdrawn until the deficiencies are corrected and the vehicle is reinspected.