Whats the fastest you ambulance can go?

wannabeHFD

Forum Lieutenant
128
13
18
I had to respond to a call in another district of ours that took me down a long straight highway. Around here cars will pass us even going emergency. It was a grease burn at a fast food place so I decided to punch it. Got a little over 95.
 

firetender

Community Leader Emeritus
2,552
11
38
Comment from the bone yard

I don't imagine things have changed much in 35 or so years.

Until you're in the driver's seat of an ambulance, as a kid the perception is that a large percentage of medics WILL push the edge of the envelope any chance they get. It doesn't matter if that's the truth or not, that's what gets noticed; not the ambulance quietly and calmly wending its way to the hospital or scene. These are really cool, lit-up boxes running around the streets doing stuff that civilians just don't get to do. Your little kid head interprets this as freedom.

"Give me a piece of THAT action!" gets ingrained in you at an early age. Probably before you understand this responsibility thing. When those lights and sirens start coming your way, what do you perk up and look for? How fast is the guy willing to go? How will he/she handle all those pesky other vehicles in his/her way? The adrenaline rush of watching transfers over into the adrenaline rush of wanting to do.

So for relatively young medics newly entering the field (we're talking the vast majority of Newbies), you could count on, uh, let's just say testosterone-like hormone levels (this applies to female medics as well) determining just how far the person will take advantage of the perceived opportunity to push society's limits.

Being handed the keys to an ambulance is not unlike being brought to the Tree of Knowledge, you know, the one with the snake and the apple?

This field does not attract the sedate and easily regimented. For Goddsakes, no matter how much they are warned away from thinking it, who completely eliminates the romantic, Super-hero image of getting all the tools and freedom they need to actually save lives? And who amongst us is immune from pushing the pedal closer to the metal (literally or figuratively) in the belief that -- especially in THIS case -- every second counts?

So for all the flack the OP is getting, please, don't kid yourselves. Driving motor vehicles fast and furious is part of U.S. culture. Beating the cops at their own game is a National pastime. Just the idea of getting a chance to stretch the rules of the road is an attractor to the field and for all the political correctness that everyone wants to project, it's a part of the reality of EMS and gets acted out often.

Shock and outrage at a simple, typically American question "What have you had that baby up to?" presents a very nice image of professionalism. But I don't think it's realistic. And I completely understand why many are reluctant to fess up to expressing a very human trait; taking it to the limit.

This is coming from your Grandfather who prided himself on 3 a.m. 90 MPH charges from a move-up position at a godforsaken cow-patch into town 18 miles away and did pretty good at cultivating relationships with local LEOs so I'd get away with it.

I don't really buy that we were a different breed in the 1970's. What do you think?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

9D4

Forum Asst. Chief
806
113
43
I don't imagine things have changed much in 35 or so years.

Until you're in the driver's seat of an ambulance, as a kid the perception is that a large percentage of medics WILL push the edge of the envelope any chance they get. It doesn't matter if that's the truth or not, that's what gets noticed; not the ambulance quietly and calmly wending its way to the hospital or scene. These are really cool, lit-up boxes running around the streets doing stuff that civilians just don't get to do. Your little kid head interprets this as freedom.

"Give me a piece of THAT action!" gets ingrained in you at an early age. Probably before you understand this responsibility thing. When those lights and sirens start coming your way, what do you perk up and look for? How fast is the guy willing to go? How will he/she handle all those pesky other vehicles in his/her way? The adrenaline rush of watching transfers over into the adrenaline rush of wanting to do.

So for relatively young medics newly entering the field (we're talking the vast majority of Newbies), you could count on, uh, let's just say testosterone-like hormone levels (this applies to female medics as well) determining just how far the person will take advantage of the perceived opportunity to push society's limits.

Being handed the keys to an ambulance is not unlike being brought to the Tree of Knowledge, you know, the one with the snake and the apple?

This field does not attract the sedate and easily regimented. For Goddsakes, no matter how much they are warned away from thinking it, who completely eliminates the romantic, Super-hero image of getting all the tools and freedom they need to actually save lives? And who amongst us is immune from pushing the pedal closer to the metal (literally or figuratively) in the belief that -- especially in THIS case -- every second counts?

So for all the flack the OP is getting, please, don't kid yourselves. Driving motor vehicles fast and furious is part of U.S. culture. Beating the cops at their own game is a National pastime. Just the idea of getting a chance to stretch the rules of the road is an attractor to the field and for all the political correctness that everyone wants to project, it's a part of the reality of EMS and gets acted out often.

Shock and outrage at a simple, typically American question "What have you had that baby up to?" presents a very nice image of professionalism. But I don't think it's realistic. And I completely understand why many are reluctant to fess up to expressing a very human trait; taking it to the limit.

This is coming from your Grandfather who prided himself on 3 a.m. 90 MPH charges from a move-up position at a godforsaken cow-patch into town 18 miles away and did pretty good at cultivating relationships with local LEOs so I'd get away with it.

I don't really buy that we were a different breed in the 1970's. What do you think?
Some valid points. IMO, however there's a big difference stupidity and acting on a romantic notion of such in the field. There's also a big difference between doing something stupid and doing something stupid when you're liable for other's lives and when someone besides yourself would be liable for damages (employer would be on the hook if someone going 90+ wrecked into a pedestrian, another car, etc... not just financially, but also with their reputation).
There's also a big difference between acting on those same romantic notions in your POV and as a professional. If you only want to get into EMS to be able to "push the envelope"... Well, that's just not a very valid reason and I know for damn sure I wouldn't want you to work on me.
Now, for all that, I haven't gotten much field time under my belt (but I am in the young demographic you described), but I'd like to think I'm rational enough to know that being an endangerment to everyone else on the road, myself, my partner, and my patient isn't going to help at all. Especially when you consider what exactly you are driving; poor handling, poor brakes, high center of gravity. Excessive speed comes with a hell of a lot more risk in something like that.
Edit: I would like to say that even though I think that I'm rational enough, I'm definitely not immune to the bug for more speed. So, take what I said with a grain of salt. This is from the perspective of a 18 YOM that has worked in the field, but never drove. So, I'm rather limited on my view. I can say from my work, though (I've been working part time at a dealership), that even though I get the opportunity of driving the occasional LS Camaro and other of the sorts, that I have never acted on the urge of driving someone else's car recklessly. Which I know doesn't translate equivalently, but it's the closest example I have.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
Community Leader
4,413
877
113
What's the fastest I've ever driven an ambulance? Only as fast as I needed to go... and never faster than conditions allowed. That being said, there were times when I took the ambulance right to the engine RPM limiter. Our ambulances didn't have a governor on them. My best guesstimate was that the speediest of the ambulances could do about 104 MPH. I might be off by a couple MPH. Literally. I also can count on both hands the number of times that speed was necessary (and safe fortunately) over the course of 7 years in the field.

And to answer the next question: No, I didn't like one minute of it. Going that fast was NEVER fun. The freeway portion of those runs probably averaged close to 103 MPH and the surface street portion probably averaged 45. I'm MUCH more wary of Code 3 driving on the street than I am on the freeway.
 

Addrobo

Droog
1,199
59
48
Our ambulances are equiped with "roac safety".....governed at 75mph.
 

CFal

Forum Captain
431
2
18
i don't imagine things have changed much in 35 or so years.

Until you're in the driver's seat of an ambulance, as a kid the perception is that a large percentage of medics will push the edge of the envelope any chance they get. It doesn't matter if that's the truth or not, that's what gets noticed; not the ambulance quietly and calmly wending its way to the hospital or scene. These are really cool, lit-up boxes running around the streets doing stuff that civilians just don't get to do. Your little kid head interprets this as freedom.

"give me a piece of that action!" gets ingrained in you at an early age. Probably before you understand this responsibility thing. When those lights and sirens start coming your way, what do you perk up and look for? How fast is the guy willing to go? How will he/she handle all those pesky other vehicles in his/her way? The adrenaline rush of watching transfers over into the adrenaline rush of wanting to do.

So for relatively young medics newly entering the field (we're talking the vast majority of newbies), you could count on, uh, let's just say testosterone-like hormone levels (this applies to female medics as well) determining just how far the person will take advantage of the perceived opportunity to push society's limits.

Being handed the keys to an ambulance is not unlike being brought to the tree of knowledge, you know, the one with the snake and the apple?

This field does not attract the sedate and easily regimented. For goddsakes, no matter how much they are warned away from thinking it, who completely eliminates the romantic, super-hero image of getting all the tools and freedom they need to actually save lives? And who amongst us is immune from pushing the pedal closer to the metal (literally or figuratively) in the belief that -- especially in this case -- every second counts?

So for all the flack the op is getting, please, don't kid yourselves. Driving motor vehicles fast and furious is part of u.s. Culture. Beating the cops at their own game is a national pastime. Just the idea of getting a chance to stretch the rules of the road is an attractor to the field and for all the political correctness that everyone wants to project, it's a part of the reality of ems and gets acted out often.

Shock and outrage at a simple, typically american question "what have you had that baby up to?" presents a very nice image of professionalism. But i don't think it's realistic. And i completely understand why many are reluctant to fess up to expressing a very human trait; taking it to the limit.

This is coming from your grandfather who prided himself on 3 a.m. 90 mph charges from a move-up position at a godforsaken cow-patch into town 18 miles away and did pretty good at cultivating relationships with local leos so i'd get away with it.

I don't really buy that we were a different breed in the 1970's. What do you think?
++1
 

akflightmedic

Forum Deputy Chief
3,413
1,911
113
Firetender,

While your message is inherently correct, I will publicly take the position of being a hypocrite.

Yes, we have all foolishly pushed the limits either in an ambulance or our POV, however the majority of us soon realize either by natural personal development or by unfortunate incident, that the decision was not the wisest and should be avoided.

With that being agreed, those of us who "feigned" displeasure at the lack of the OP's professionalism did so out of good intentions. When the neophyte comes along, we should set higher standards (professional hypocrisies if you will), in order to try and change the mentality which has permeated our culture too long and not really contributed to obtaining the respect and support we need from the community as a whole. I do not think it is in anyone's interests if every single senior member immediately began with tales of speed and risk.

I relate this to my kids...there is a time and place to tell them most everything. I will not fill their heads with story after story of how much pot I smoked and how fun it was. When the time was right, I did tell them I smoked weed. It was pretty much to the point of Yes I did it, Yes I enjoyed it but I quit because of x y z. We discussed both the pros and cons and this led into a deeper discussion of how I support its legalization, regulation and recreational use. But I know from that sit down and discussion (and many follow up discussions) that they understand the risks and challenges choosing to engage in could pose.

This is the same for the new guy bragging about speeding in his ambulance. We had to engage the behavior, talk about risks (which many did), provide studies or discuss studies about how time is not really saved (again some did), and overall express displeasure with the act itself but now know the OP is fully informed of the potential risks and challenges should he choose to do this again.

That in itself is human nature at it's finest (?)...
 

JumboBeef

Forum Ride Along
7
0
0
I'm in The UK, and this thread has interested me.

Are you talking about speeds on the open highway, as opposed to around town? Our normal speed limit for Ambulances on a motorway (your freeway) is 70, so 90-95 on an emergency run (in good weather conditions etc) is normal (and you'd be overtaken by cars, 90+mph is pretty normal).

Seems I would be shot for doing those speeds over there ;)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
9,128
196
63
It is highly dependent upon the region and type of road you are on if the speeds are safe or not.

Blanket statements by either side of the argument are equally wrong.
 

Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
3,406
1,956
113
I'm in The UK, and this thread has interested me.

Are you talking about speeds on the open highway, as opposed to around town? Our normal speed limit for Ambulances on a motorway (your freeway) is 70, so 90-95 on an emergency run (in good weather conditions etc) is normal (and you'd be overtaken by cars, 90+mph is pretty normal).

Seems I would be shot for doing those speeds over there ;)
This might be an issue of mixing up kilometers per hour versus miles per hour. I'm not very good with the math but I do know 100kph is roughly 62mph or slightly slower than the speed limit on the freeways around here.

Based on the OPs past forum responses (visible under their profile) we can pretty much narrow down that he/she lives and works in Southern California and is therefor most likely using miles. A quick look on my handy converter app says 100mph is roughly 161kph, a far different story than 95-100kph.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
7,103
2,128
113
It is highly dependent upon the region and type of road you are on if the speeds are safe or not.

Blanket statements by either side of the argument are equally wrong.
When would it be appropriate to operate an ambulance at speeds exceeding 90 miles per hour?
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
9,128
196
63
When would it be appropriate to operate an ambulance at speeds exceeding 90 miles per hour?
Ever driven through Montana? :rofl:

I didn't specify a speed, nor did I say it was appropriate. What I said was it is highly dependent upon the region and type of road you are on.

Is 90 mph appropriate on every road or interstate? Nope. Could it be appropriate in an area where the posted speed limit is 75-80mph? Maybe.
 

Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
3,406
1,956
113
Oh sorry Jumbo, I just re-read and saw you used mph. Maybe this is why one shouldn't post very first thing when he wakes up before the coffee is had? Lol
 

firetender

Community Leader Emeritus
2,552
11
38
When the neophyte comes along, we should set higher standards (professional hypocrisies if you will), in order to try and change the mentality which has permeated our culture too long and not really contributed to obtaining the respect and support we need from the community as a whole. I do not think it is in anyone's interests if every single senior member immediately began with tales of speed and risk.

...
I can't disagree there.

The important thing is that there are many different Points of View and attitudes here for a Newbie to choose from.

In reading over the responses to the OP I realize that particular immaturity was quite prevalent amongst me and my peers. With some examples set here -- even by those who trashed the OP for just sayin' -- perhaps a bit of discernment is becoming part of the culture. That would be great!

My point; until we start speaking with each other honestly about the psychological and behavioral quirks we exhibit in response to the unique craziness of the job description, EMS will continue to be the profession that never quite got born.

40-something years of labor has to be enough to push this kid out there, dontcha think?
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
7,103
2,128
113
Ever driven through Montana? :rofl:

I didn't specify a speed, nor did I say it was appropriate. What I said was it is highly dependent upon the region and type of road you are on.

Is 90 mph appropriate on every road or interstate? Nope. Could it be appropriate in an area where the posted speed limit is 75-80mph? Maybe.
Not in Montana, just super rural Colorado.

There is no time in which driving over 90 is acceptable, I'm okay with making a blanket statement on that one. We have posted 75 areas where the road is straight for miles and visibility is excellent. Believe me, there's lots of flatness out here.

It is still inexcusable.

An accident at that speed will be horrific, and might well have been preventable going 15 slower.

We see what happens when mistakes are made at that speed and then often follow that with commenting on how dumb the driver was for driving that fast. I don't think I've ever been to a TA with speed as a contributing factor where I thought "you know his speeding was probably ok."

Yet somehow we are willing to accept it when our own do it? Even when we know that it serves no clinical benefit? When we are operating vehicles that are well known to be deficient in terms of crashworthiness?

We can what if or say it might be acceptable all we want but I don't think anyone can argue that this is the sort of example we should be setting, both for our fellow providers and the general public.
 

Top