Are ambulance drivers allowed to used sirens and emergency lights while in training
The short answer is yes. At least for ambulance training in the Netherlands.
While a lot of countries train their ambulance drivers with special ambulance simulators, the best ambulance training you can get is on the job in the ambulance. But if you are only driving an ambulance without the siren and emergency lights, you won’t get a realistic and probably hectic experience. So that is why ambulance drivers in the safety region Gelderland-Zuid (the Netherlands) recently started training with the sirens and emergency lights during their driving lessons.
With these lessons they can better practice a real emergency ride, because they are always performed with a siren. Previously they were not allowed to be used during the training sessions. They did sometimes use a siren while training, but it only happened when an emergency was called in during the lesson itself. During such journeys, the driving instructor was the one give the instructions. Since last year, ambulances are allowed to train with emergency lights and sirens, but ambulance services must meet strict requirements.
Safety Region Gelderland-Zuid is one of the first regions to be allowed to give ambulance training with sirens at this moment. But this wasn’t happening without special certification. ‘Our instructors needed extra training. They had to be certified to show that they are competent, ‘explains training coordinator Marco Pfeijffer.
Special ambulance training vehicle
In order to train properly, Safety Region Gelderland-Zuid has purchased a brand new training vehicle. That looks exactly the same as an ambulance, but with extra mirrors and a brake pedal for the driving instructor who is sitting on the passenger seat. Instead of all kinds of medical equipment, there is a block of concrete in the back to mimic the weight. For the drivers it is especially important to experience how the other traffic behaves when the siren and flashing lights of the ambulance are on. ‘What we want is to learn you to safely navigate through traffic en notice how people respond to to. You have to drive as safe as possible while being as quick as possible on the site of the emergency”, according to one of the driving instructors
Although ambulance drivers with the old training methods already made few accidents relative to the police and fire brigade, Pfeijffer considers it an important step that they can train with flashing lights and sirens. ‘We see occasional some fender benders, but never really accidents with serious physical injuries. However, I think you should aim for as little fender benders as possible. ‘ He is convinced that other ambulance services will follow this way of ambulance training.
Source/video available (via omroepgelderland.nl)