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There’s no need to panic. Just slow down and scroll over to the side of the page.
That’s right—here comes an article about ambulances! When most people think about heavy equipment maintenance, ambulances aren’t the first vehicles that come to mind. But as of 2020, states reported about 54,300 “911 response with transport” vehicles (i.e., ambulances) in use across the United States.
Since ambulances play such a crucial role in society, they need even more attention than most fleets do. Keep reading for several valuable tips on making your shop’s ambulance maintenance strategy as effective as possible.
Follow a Regular Maintenance Schedule
Like any other type of heavy equipment, ambulances shouldn’t receive service at random. Instead, set up a regular schedule for ambulance maintenance.
A great way to start building a maintenance schedule for your fleet is checking the manufacturer’s maintenance guide. From there, adjust the scheduling based on how regularly your ambulances are used.
Just be sure not to wait very long before handling maintenance work. Even if an ambulance isn’t on the road all that often, emergency vehicles always need to be in tip-top shape. After all, ambulance critical failure isn’t just an inconvenience—lives may be depending on its performance.
Create a Checklist
To go the extra mile in your ambulance maintenance efforts, you can put together a fleet inspection checklist—or even checklists (plural). By establishing a list of components to check at various intervals, you’ll find it easier to keep up with ambulance maintenance.
Make a point of checking on both the basics (brakes, tires, etc.) and ambulance-specific parts like lights, sirens, and equipment mounts. Here are a few things to check on every month:
- Tire wear/pressure
- Safety lights
- Back-up alarms
- Interior/back-up cameras
- Inverter/charger unit cleanliness
- Suspension system components
- Door switches
- Primary stretcher systems
- Heating/AC systems
While you should stick to your monthly checklist, creating similar lists for quarterly, biannual, and annual services is equally important. By doing so, you won’t just save time during inspections. You’ll also seriously lower your risk of having one or more ambulances out of commission for an extended period.
Keep Track of PMs
Even with the benefit of a checklist, manually tracking preventive maintenance items across an entire fleet of ambulances can be challenging. That’s doubly true when you remember that some ambulances in your fleet might be used less often than others—altering their ideal timeline for service.
Programs like ours can work alongside your fleet’s GPS. By analyzing miles and engine hours based on GPS data, high-quality shop software can determine precisely when an ambulance in your fleet needs attention. You might even catch developing issues before they have a chance to get worse!
Track Asset Lifespans
Ambulances are meant to save lives, but they also have lifespans of their own. When a vehicle in your fleet reaches a certain age, no amount of repair or maintenance services will make it capable of doing its job safely.
While you can’t keep an ambulance on the road indefinitely, you can keep an eye on the age and usage of each vehicle in your fleet. That way, you won’t be caught off-guard when an ambulance reaches the end of its service life—and you’ll have ample time to replace it.
Light-duty chassis ambulances can expect to last 250,000 miles or five years before they need to be replaced. Careful maintenance can allow you to wait a bit longer than this timeline suggests, but you should always be extra cautious when it comes to replacing emergency vehicles.
Okay! It looks like the ambulance article has passed by safely, so you can return to your everyday browsing.
But before you do, take a minute to let these tips sink in. Although this form of heavy-duty equipment upkeep poses some unique challenges, knowing what to look out for can help you resolve these problems with ease.
And if you’re still doing all this manually, don’t forget to go on the hunt for ambulance maintenance software. A fully-featured repair shop program will come with equipment tracking features, but it might also go above and beyond by helping you with invoices, service order workflows, and inventory management.