5 ways to protect your ambulance from theft

Updated May 15, 2015

Prevent your ambulance from being stolen and potentially causing harm to the thief or others

Articles about ambulance theft pop up frequently enough on EMS1.com to convince me that theft is an actual problem that could happen anytime and anywhere.

Recent articles include an ambulance stolen from a Texas emergency department, a Calif. woman that held paramedics at knife point before crashing the stolen ambulance into a semi-truck, and a man told by "Lord Jesus Christ" to steal the ambulance. 

With the potential for catastrophic injury or death as well as a financial loss of more than $200,000, it seems like preventing ambulance theft should be a high priority for EMS agencies.

Ambulance security tips
Consider these tips for your SOG on ambulance security:

1. Lock it up!
Always lock the doors to the driver compartment, patient compartment, and equipment compartments. Read why locking the ambulance is an absolute duty for EMS providers

2. Install other theft prevention controls
If you are worried about not being able to restart the engine, utilize an ignition interlock system that allows the motor to idle, but not be able to be put in gear without a key.

3. Guard the vehicles
If there are multiple units responding — like an ambulance and a first response fire truck — assign one person to stay with and monitor the vehicles.

4. Minimize time ambulance is unattended 
Minimize time out of and away from the vehicle, whether you are at an incident, at the grocery store, or parked at the hospital.

5. High-visibility location
Park in a location where the ambulance is easily visible from the scene and to bystanders.

What are your tips? 
Have you ever had an ambulance or contents stolen? Does your department have an SOG for preventing vehicle theft? How does your organization prevent ambulance theft or theft of contents from the ambulance? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of EMS1.com. He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at greg.friese@ems1.com.

  1. Tags
  2. Ambulances / Emergency Vehicles
  3. Security video
  4. Stolen ambulance
  5. Theft

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