Preventative Maintenance of EMS Vehicles and Equipment

Bureau of EMS Policy Statement
Policy Statement #02-11
Maintenance of EMS
Vehicles and Equipment


This policy statement is intended to provide EMS agencies with guidance to assist them in meeting their requirement to have policies regarding preventive maintenance for all EMS vehicles and equipment pursuant to 10 NYCRR Part 800.21(p)(8).

EMS Vehicles

The most effective source of information regarding the preventive maintenance program for an EMS vehicle comes from the manufacture's "Operating Instructions" or "Owner's Manual" that was provided with the vehicle at the time of delivery. If your agency does not have a copy of this type of information than it should be obtained from the manufacturer.

An agency policy developed to comply with 800.21(p)(8) should include (but not be limited to):

  • Annual DMV Inspection
  • Fluid and filter change intervals
  • Tire rotation intervals
  • Fluid level check schedule
  • Battery check intervals
  • Inspection of lights and the electrical system
  • Inspection of belts, hoses and clamps
  • Inspection of doors and gaskets
  • Brake service intervals
  • Evaluation of the heating and cooling system
  • Schedule of other maintenance procedures particular to vehicle
  • Procedures for daily/weekly inspections to be performed by members/employees
  • Procedures employees/members should follow in the event a malfunction occurs

As important as the performance of these procedures, of equal importance is their documentation. Services are urged to maintain complete maintenance records on all their vehicles. Such records should include inspection reports as well as records of services performed by either the agency's employees/members, outside vendors or representatives of the vehicle manufacturer. This record might also contain any service bulletins or recall notices issued by the manufacture and records of compliance with their recommendations.

Personally owned vehicles operated as Emergency Ambulance Service Vehicles (EASV) should also be covered by the agency's policy to assure that the owner/operator of the vehicle is maintaining the vehicle and it is capable of emergency response and safe operation.

EMS Equipment

Nearly all pieces of EMS equipment come with some form of an "Owner's Manual" or "Operator's Guide". These documents need to be retained and reviewed by appropriate agency staff and the procedures for care and maintenance should be followed.

Each agency's policy on preventive maintenance of equipment should include, but not be limited to, provisions to:

  • Perform manufacture's recommended calibrations/inspections
  • Perform manufacture's recommended service (including lubrications) and the proper materials to use in performing recommended service
  • Replace and service batteries (if applicable)
  • Proper inspection of all equipment available to provider
  • Proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures
  • Procedures for removing equipment from service
  • Procedures to be followed in the event of equipment failures

The following types of equipment should be covered by any preventive maintenance or biometric service policy developed by an agency:

  • Radios and other communications equipment
  • Stretchers and stretcher mounting hardware
  • AEDs
  • ECG/Manual Defibrillator equipment
  • Pulse oxyimeters
  • Suction devices
  • Rechargeable battery powered lights
  • BP Cuffs; manual and automatic
  • Patient stabilization/transportation/immobilization devices
  • Oxygen regulators and delivery systems
  • Ventilators
  • Infusion devices
  • Specialized pieces of equipment owned or operated by the service

As with vehicles EMS agencies should have a record or log (paper or electronic) for each piece of equipment that contains:

  • When and where the equipment was purchased/obtained
  • Documentation pertaining to repairs of the piece of equipment
  • Equipment maintenance schedule per the manufacturers instructions
  • Documentation pertaining to all maintenance performed on the equipment

All agencies are reminded that they must "maintain a record of all unexpected authorized EMS response vehicle and patient care equipment failures that could have resulted in harm to a patient and the corrective actions taken. A copy of this record shall be submitted to the Department with the EMS service's biennial recertification application"(1)

The development of clear and concise policies provide EMS service employees/members with an understanding as to what each member of the organizations roles and responsibilities are relating to maintaining, servicing and repairing agency equipment and vehicles. These policies also serve to allow providers to have functioning vehicles and equipment to provide the best possible patient care.

Issued and Authorized by:
Edward G. Wronski, Director

(1) 10 NYCRR part 800.21(r)