Navigating the Cone Course with an Ambulance

Below is several videos from the Hackensack VAC of drivers navigating a cone course with an ambulance. When navigating the cone course, just as you would in normal ambulance operations:

1. Put on your seatbelt as soon as you get in the ambulance. I have seen several drivers immediately fail the test for not donning their seatbelt. Confirm all passengers are wearing their seatbelts before moving the vehicle.

2. Eliminate and silence distractions. Before you enter the vehicle silence your phone. Turn off the music radio once you are inside.

3. Adjust your mirrors before putting the vehicle into drive.

4. Use your mirrors for all backing maneuvers. I always chuckle when a driver looks over their right shoulder and into the ambulance compartment as they back-up. How is that going to be helpful.

5. When backing through the serpentine course you need to start turning the ambulance as soon as the next cone comes into view. Thus you need to have your mirrors positioned so you see that cone as soon as possible.

6. Small corrections are better. Make small and subtle corrections at low speeds. Big corrections while turning or backing lead to over correction.

7. Place spotters where you can see them. When backing I like to have my spotter on the right side of the vehicle because I have better coverage of the left side mirror. Remind the spotter to check for hazards above and below the ambulance’s as well as to the left and right.

8. Keep your windows open. You should be able to see and hear your spotter.

9. Take your time and relax.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.