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5 Tips to keep the ambulance clean

Updated January 12, 2016

If you ever saw my desk, you might be surprised to learn that I like a clean ambulance before, during, and after calls. Here are a few things I have learned from partners or have developed on my own to keep the ambulance clean:

1. Use the normal saline packaging for a mini on-scene trash bag. All the IV supply wrappers and more are able to fit inside.

2. During the winter or any snowy/rainy day, place a bath towel on the floor by the patient care compartment (passenger) side door to minimize slush, sand, salt, and dirt from being tracked into the ambulance.

3. Keep the trash can in a place that is accessible during the call. Also keep a can or bag in the front compartment for all the trash — food wrappers, newspapers and other junk — that is generated while posting.

4. Don’t stuff trash into a jump bag pocket so you can throw it away later. You will probably forget to throw it away (I know I would). Trash in the jump bag is never a good surprise on the next call and is rarely a good gift to the next crew.

5. Gather up the trash at the incident and ask if you can leave it in an available trash can. Most of the time, on-scene trash is just a mix of paper and plastic wrappers. It is OK to leave behind as long as you are not leaving behind protected health information or biohazard waste.

Finally, if you are not part of the transport crew, it only takes a moment to put your used gloves in a trash can instead of tossing them on the ambulance floor. And remember that if the gloves are not visibly soiled, they can go in a normal trash bag that you might keep in your squad car, fire truck, or privately owned vehicle.

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