Confessions of a paramedic

What should you do if there's an ambulance behind you? What does it take to become a paramedic? And which car makes the best response vehicle? Our tame driver reveals all...

Skoda Octavia Estate Ambulance


What’s your favourite response car? Perhaps a lofty SUV like the Peugeot 5008? 

We’ve just been given brand-new Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI estates and they’re the best cars I’ve driven. They handle well, they’re smooth and they have bags of space. Ultimately, the best response car is one that feels safe and the Octavia feels exactly that.

Do you have to maintain it?

Not to the extent of servicing it, obviously. We have a dedicated garage for that. But when I take one out, it is my responsibility. I have to check the tyre pressures, dip the oil and check the coolant level. Regardless of their condition, new tyres are fitted every four months.

Skoda Octavia Estate ambulance

Do the cars you use break down?

Actually, quite often. Personally, I’ve had two flat tyres and once I filled up with petrol and not diesel. I got seriously ribbed over that. We carry a lot of powerful equipment that can drain the car’s batteries. At an incident, to avoid losing battery power or being unable to start the engine, the car is fitted with a ‘run-lock’ device that allows me to take the ignition key out but leave the engine running.

Describe the inside of your response vehicle

It’s an estate, but the back seats have been taken out to create as much room as possible for all of our equipment. Besides driving I have to deal with three essential systems: the mobile digital terminal (MDT), the sat-nav and the communications system. When rushing to a four-month-old baby who’s stopped breathing it’s all go, and stressful managing everything.

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