Ambulance officers give transport to accident victims from the scenes of accidents to the nearest hospital or from one hospital to another, and assist paramedics.
They assist paramedics in trying to determine the nature and extent of the patient’s injuries or illness, and give appropriate emergency care, such as treatment for shock, controlling bleeding, restoring breathing, assisting mothers in childbirth, administering oxygen, bandaging wounds, opening airways, managing emotionally disturbed patients, treating and assisting heart attack victims, administering intravenous fluids and using defibrillators, as well as other intensive care procedures.
Patients have to be transported quickly yet safely. These workers have to be reliable and responsible and never reckless. Sometimes an ambulance officer has to transport emergency equipment to the scene of an accident in cases where many people have to be treated at the same time, for example, given oxygen. Emergency care workers have to be ready at all times to respond quickly.
Ambulance officers work with: ambulances, trolleys, oxygen tanks, clean linen, drips, latex gloves, backboards, defibrillators and a wide variety of other medical equipment and supplies.
Working environments include: indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather, depending on the scene of the accident - vehicle accidents, cave-ins, collapsed buildings, mudslides, earthquake scenes, drowning accidents and fires.
Schooling & School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.
In-service training:Ambulance and emergency care workers receive in-service training. The Basic Ambulance Course (B.A.C.) extends over four weeks and is offered at various centres country-wide. In this course ambulance and emergency care workers are introduced to and trained in basic life-support and the equipment used in an ambulance. Successful completion of this course serves as admission to the next course.
After a minimum period of six months, ambulance personnel who are interested in improving their knowledge and skills or who would like to be promoted, can apply for the Ambulance Emergency Assistant (A.E.A.) Course. This is an eleven-week course in which advanced training in life-support is offered. After successful completion of the final exam and after the prescribed practical experience has been gained, candidates can register with the INMDC of SA as ambulance emergency assistants.
Further courses with which ambulance and emergency care workers can improve their qualifications, are the Basic Medical Rescue Course, the Critical Care Assistant Course and the Minimum Safety Driving Course.
Diplomas:The N.Dip. Ambulance and Emergency Care is offered at UCT, UJ, CUT, CPUT and DUT. This course includes a great deal of practical training and enables candidates to register as emergency care technologists after completion of the course.
St John’s Ambulance Foundation
P O Box 7137
Tel: (011) 403-4227
South African Emergency Services Institute
P O Box 613
Tel: (011) 660-5672 Fax: (011) 660-1887