EMTs working on patient in ambulance

How EMTs Stay Safe

While Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) act as first responders, they must also take precautions to ensure that their safety isn’t at risk. Rules and regulations can usually be gleaned through EMT basic training, but others are learned through experience in the field.

Today, we’d like to highlight some general safety tips for EMTs and other EMS workers. These tips were found on EMS World, a highly informative website and resource for the EMS profession.

Here are seven tips to help keep you safe on (and off) the rig!

Seven Safety Tips for EMS Workers

1. Always pay attention to your surroundings: According to EMS World, scene overview should begin the moment you arrive. Take note of weather conditions, traffic flow, and any possible construction. Some calls can be incredibly chaotic, and you must remain aware to ensure your partner’s safety as well as your own.

2. Carefully watch for hazardous scenes: It’s also important to be aware of hazardous elements that you may encounter on a call. For example, these can include downed power lines, fuel leaks, and unstable structures, just to name a few. As an EMS professional, you often need to expect the unexpected.

3. Wait for police to secure violent scenes: For your safety, it is of the utmost importance that you do not rush into a violent scene before the police have cleared it. EMS World suggests that you remain at a safe distance until the police are able to secure the area. It’s also important that you do not follow a police car into a scene. As EMS World states, if the police need to draw their weapons, you don’t want to get caught in the line of fire.

4. Remember your safety gear and equipment: Get in the habit of wearing your issued safety gear. This can include safety vests, gloves, helmets, and EMS turnout gear. Not only are these items designed to protect you from injury, but they also limit or prevent exposure to dangerous chemicals, blood borne pathogens, etc.

5. Operate the ambulance as safely as possible: While there isn’t an excuse to discard your safety gear, there also isn’t an excuse to drive dangerously. Remember that you aren’t just responsible for your safety, but your partner’s safety, the patient’s safety, and the public’s safety. As we stated earlier, always pay attention to the weather and road conditions.

6. Perform a pre-shift vehicle checkout: According to EMS World, it’s vital that EMS professionals conduct a pre-shift vehicle checkout by inspecting oil levels, the tires, the siren, and the lights. You need to ensure that everything is in working order before you start your shift. Why? The answer is usually the same, and it can be summed up in one word: safety.

7. Avoid lifting injuries on the job: Lessen or avoid back pain on a shift by squatting and using proper body mechanics. As they say, always lift with your legs—never your back. To ensure a long-term career, it’s critical that you correctly lift patients. Additionally, EMS World suggests that you start doing a few stretches before your shift. When combined with proper lifting, you will greatly help your body combat the physical stressors of the job.

About Unitek EMT

At Unitek EMT, we strive to prepare our students for a career in EMS. Seasoned EMS professionals impart critical knowledge and skills through a combination of expert lectures, simulation training, and workshop-style classes. To gain as much experience as possible, students will also partake in a clinical rotation.

We believe these real-world experiences greatly benefit our students and influence their success. If you’ve been searching for EMT training or you’re curious about EMT education requirements, we offer an EMT program with several variations to better accommodate our students. These include a 14-Day Boot Camp* and an Expanded Online Hybrid at our Fremont Campus in Northern California. We also offer a modified version of the Boot Camp at our facility in Chandler, Arizona.

Lay the groundwork for your future with Unitek EMT!



* The EMT Boot Camp is the portion of the EMT program that includes intensive on-campus education, daily lectures, and hands-on skills. This version of the EMT program also includes a 50+ hour online portion that must be completed prior to graduation.