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titleAmbulance Services

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titleThe Guidelines define Ambulance Services as follows:

A building used to house ambulances and from which medically-trained staff are dispatched to transport emergency patients and administer emergency medical treatment (en route or at the scene).

INCLUDES: Air ambulances, ground ambulances, ambulances not operated by fire departments but co-housed at a fire station, rescue vehicles not associated with fire departments.

DOES NOT INCLUDE: Ambulance services operated by and housed in a fire station, ambulances for transportation only (not providing medical care), special needs transports, ambulances operated by hospitals/medical centers, ambulance dispatch centers, urgent care centers, freestanding emergency facilities.

What is an Ambulance Service? 
An ambulance service facility is a building that houses vehicles and personnel to transport emergency patients and administer emergency medical treatment but does not include ambulances operated by fire departments or hospitals.

If an ambulance is located in a fire station and is operated by fire department personnel, it is considered part of the fire department and not a separate ambulance service for our purposes. However, it is not uncommon for contract, private or non-profit ambulance services to operate out of fire department stations through a government contract or mutual aid agreement. (The fire department’s website usually specifies the relationship between the two entities.) These facilities, which are not operated by the fire department personnel, meet the criteria for ambulance collection.

Both for-profit and non-profit ambulance services may operate out of their own facilities separate from fire departments and are included as ambulance service facilities.

Do we include air ambulance (helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft) locations as Ambulance Service locations? 
Air ambulances are included as ambulance service locations; however it may be difficult to determine where helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are stationed. Most hospitals have helipads, but these are not home stations for air ambulances. The home stations for air ambulances generally are at airports. State health departments or state emergency management divisions may maintain lists of air ambulance services licensed to operate within their state.

Where can I find authoritative lists of Ambulance Services? 
Ambulance services generally are licensed by counties or by state, so you may find information listed on government websites. State health departments or state emergency management divisions may also may maintain lists of ambulance services.

Check out our Authoritative Sources List for more on the types of sources that are acceptable.

Where Where do I place an Ambulance Services structure
Most ambulance services structures have one building. If this is the case, place the point at the center of the building. If the structure operates out of the same building as a Fire Department and/or Law Enforcement facility, distribute the points on the building so that they are not overlapping.

Stations can generally be recognized in Aerial Imagery or in Google Street View™ because the stations have large bays with overhead doors and large concrete pads outside where the ambulances can park.

For more information on how to identify an ambulance services structure, check out the “Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 6: Ambulance Services” article in our July 2018 Newsletter.