Decontaminating and Cleaning an Ambulance

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As a society we are always trying to improve the level of health care that we can provide. Researchers develop new medicines and surgeons develop new techniques to improve our overall quality of life. One of the advancements that have allowed us more freedom in where we live is the ambulance.  Not only does an ambulance transport people to medical centers, it also allows for medical care to be administered while en route. This requires the ambulance to be clean and decontaminated to ensure a patient is not exposed to any additional threats. The following steps should be taken to ensure that your ambulance is both in compliance with Federal and State guidelines and you are providing the highest level of care to your patients.

For the exterior of the ambulance make certain that the windshield is free of bugs or debris and the mirrors are wiped down with a glass cleaner. It is important that the driver has clear sight lines and ability to use the mirrors effectively. Washing the body of the ambulance will remove any dirt or grime and will project a professional image throughout the community. Wash the exterior with soap and water using sponges or brushes to cover the entire body. Make sure that the tires are free of mud and dirt. If they need to be cleaned, spray a cleaner / degreaser on the tires and scrub with a brush and spray off with clean water. You should wash the tires each time the body of the ambulance is washed.

Inside the cab of the ambulance you want to make sure that after each use that you vacuum out the seats and floor. If the flooring is not carpeted then wipe them out with a cleaner / degreaser. Make sure that all used gloves, soda cans, or trash are removed from the console or door compartments. Wipe down the console and dashboard with a disinfectant. Do not spray the disinfectant directly on the dashboard, console, radio, or any other electronic equipment. Instead spray directly on the rag and then wipe down the areas. Pay particular attention to steering wheel, door handles, and radio microphone due to the amount and kind of use they get.

The Patient Module requires cleaning to be done on the Ambulance itself, along with much of the equipment that is used. Making sure that the stretcher is clean and the linens are changed after each use is very important. No patient should ever be placed on used linens. Make sure that the stretcher and stretcher straps are cleaned after each use. Remove the mattress from the frame and thoroughly clean it with a disinfectant. Wipe down the handrails and the frame of the cot even the under carriage. In the Patient Module itself, make sure that you wipe down all surface areas.  Do not spray the disinfectant directly on the surface area and make sure that you completely wipe off any excess spray. Make sure that you wipe down all of the door handles and handles to the cabinets. Clean the plexi-glass doors with glass cleaner not disinfectant. Check the Sharps container and trash bins to make sure they are not close to capacity. If your Sharps container is close to being full make sure that you change it on your next visit to the hospital. Finally, sweep and decontaminate the floor. After sweeping out any dirt or debris, spray the floor with disinfectant and let it sit for a few minutes and then mop with clean water.

There are also several other areas or equipment that need regular cleaning. On the Monitor/Defibrillator make sure that you wipe down the lead cables, the pulse ox probe and the face of the monitor. Clean out the Oxygen caddy and wipe down the regulator. Back boards and head blocks also need to be wiped down. When picking up or restocking immobilization equipment from the hospital make sure that they are properly cleaned, especially the grab rails, before placing them back in the ambulance. Wipe down the stethoscope ear pieces and bell and lightly spray the BP cuff. Make sure that the BP cuff is dry before placing it back into the jump bag. If any other equipment was used make sure that it is properly cleaned and stored for the next use.

By following the above steps you will be ensuring that your unit meets Federal and State guidelines. In addition, you will be presenting a professional image to the people of your community that you serve.

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