Guidance for fuel levels on ambulances

Ambulance side shot

Following the news that a paramedic in Northern Ireland had his Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration removed for allowing an ambulance to run out of fuel on an emergency call, the Trust wants to clarify the expectation for EEAST staff.   

A panel of the HCPC conduct and competence committee heard that paramedic did not take action when the trainee paramedic he was supervising told him that the ambulance had only one-quarter of a tank of fuel. As a result, the ambulance stopped on the way to an emergency call, causing a delay of 20 minutes whilst another ambulance responded.

The panel also heard that the paramedic then asked a vehicle technician to say that the ambulance had stopped because the fuel was dirty, not that it had run out.

The recommendation for EEAST is that at least a quarter of fuel should be left in an ambulance or response car as the minimum, to enable a safe response to the first job of a shift without having to refuel.

When you need to refuel, a request should be made and permission granted from HEOC. Frontline staff should always be permitted to refuel their vehicle when appropriate to do so, i.e. not en-route to an emergency call, and HEOC should always endeavour to allow crews to refuel when they ask to. However in certain situations this may not be possible straight away; in these circumstances, please be understanding and make sure that you record on your daily paperwork, the time that you made your request.

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