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Essential Equipment of New Jersey's BLS Ambulances: A Comprehensive Overview

New Jersey's Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances stand as bastions of immediate medical intervention, bridging the gap between the onset of an emergency and advanced hospital care. To cater to a myriad of medical emergencies, these ambulances come equipped with a robust array of tools and equipment. In this deep dive, we'll explore the essential apparatus commonly found in these ambulances, many of which align with the guidelines set by N.J. Admin. Code § 8:40-6.5.

1. Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools:

  • Diaphragm-type stethoscope: EMTs use this essential tool to listen to heart rhythms and lung sounds, enabling them to assess the condition of a patient quickly.

  • Aneroid-type blood pressure manometer: Measuring blood pressure can offer insights into a patient's circulatory health, potentially highlighting underlying conditions that require immediate attention.

  • Penlights: Multi-functional tools employed both for illumination and clinical examinations, such as pupil reflex assessments.

2. Breathing and Respiratory Support:

  • Oropharyngeal airways: Four different sizes ensure that a suitable size is available for patients, regardless of age or body type. This tool is vital for maintaining an open airway in unconscious or semi-conscious patients.

  • Oxygen Masks and Tanks: Given the unpredictability of emergencies, having both nasal cannulas and non-rebreather masks ensures that EMTs can offer varying degrees of oxygen support based on the patient's requirements.

  • Suction Devices: A lifesaver when it comes to clearing obstructed airways, especially after accidents where debris or vomit might be a concern.

  • Bag Valve Mask (BVM): In cases of severe respiratory distress or failure, BVMs are pivotal. They allow EMTs to manually ventilate a patient.

3. Movement and Safe Transport Tools:

  • Stretchers: A paramount piece of equipment. The variety of stretchers—the standard stretcher you typically see used to transport patients to and from the ambulance, reeves, and scoop—allow for safe patient transport catering to the injury's nature.

  • Stair Chair: In buildings without elevators or tight corridors, a stair chair becomes invaluable. It's designed to navigate stairwells without compromising patient safety.

4. Safety and Emergency Response:

  • Fire Extinguisher: Given the electronic equipment and oxygen tanks on board, having a fire extinguisher is non-negotiable for the safety of both the patient and the EMTs.

  • Fire Helmet and Jacket: These provide protection against potential fire hazards, especially during rescue operations.

  • Reflective Vests: High-visibility vests are critical, especially during nighttime operations, ensuring EMTs can work without becoming a hazard themselves.

  • Tire Block: A simple yet essential tool to keep a vehicle stable should it ever be required on a scene.

  • Electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) System: Modern EMTs rely on technology to ensure seamless communication. An ePCR system allows them to digitally document patient information, ensuring no critical data is lost in transit.

5. Immediate Medical Intervention Supplies:

  • Glucose: Low blood sugar can lead to critical emergencies. Oral glucose acts as an immediate remedy, stabilizing patients until they can receive more extensive care.

  • Wound and burn treatment supplies: These supplies range from gauze pads to saline solutions, ensuring that EMTs can provide immediate first aid, preventing infections or complications.

  • Sterile obstetrical emergency delivery kit: Childbirth can be unpredictable. This comprehensive kit ensures that EMTs are prepared to assist in emergency deliveries.

6. Protection and Hygiene:

  • Eye Protection and Goggles: Splashes from bodily fluids can be hazardous. Eye protection is mandatory to prevent potential contamination.

  • Personal Protective Isolation Garments: These prevent contamination, crucial when dealing with infectious patients or hazardous environments.

  • Biohazard bags and Respiratory protection masks: For the safe disposal of medical waste and protection against airborne pathogens.

7. The Enhanced Preparedness of BLS Ambulances:

Though there are state-mandated guidelines, BLS services often equip their vehicles with additional tools based on regional needs or specific experiences. The move towards more patient-centric care, including considerations for those with allergies, exemplifies the evolving nature of pre-hospital care in New Jersey.


While a list of basic or standard equipment offers insights into an ambulance's capabilities, it is the synergy between these tools and the expertise of the EMTs that defines the life-saving potential of New Jersey's BLS services. These ambulances, moving swiftly through our streets, encapsulate a holistic care approach, ready to face any medical challenge.

If you are in need of non-emergency medical transportation services, please give us a call at 973-835-1591.


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