An ambulance is a vehicle which can transport medical patients to treatment, and in some instances will also provide out-of-hospital medical care to the patient.

Ambulances are used to respond to medical emergencies by the emergency medical services. For this purpose, they are generally equipped with flashing warning lights and sirens. They can rapidly transport paramedics and other responders to the scene, carry equipment for administering emergency care and transport patients to hospital or other definitive care. Most ambulances use a design based on vans or pick-up trucks. Others take the form of motorcycles, cars, buses, aircraft and boats.

Functional types:

Ambulances can be grouped into different types depending on whether it  transports patients  under different conditions. In some cases, ambulances may fulfill more than one function.

1.Emergency ambulance

This is the  most common type of ambulance, which provide care to patients with an acute illness or injury. These can be road-going vans, boats, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft (known as air ambulances) or even converted vehicles such as golf carts.

2.Patient transport ambulance

A vehicle, which has the job of transporting patients to, from or between places of medical treatment, such as hospital or dialysis center, for non-urgent care. These can be vans, buses or other vehicles.

3.Response vehicle

Also known as a fly-car, nontransporting EMS vehicle.  It is a vehicle which is used to reach an acutely ill patient quickly, and provide on scene care. In some places, these vehicles can transport a patient, but only if they are able to sit in a regular car seat. Response units may be backed up by an emergency ambulance which can transport the patient, or may deal with the problem on scene, with no requirement for a transport ambulance. These can be a wide variety of vehicles, from standard cars, to modified vans, motorcycles, pedal cycles, quad bikes or horses.

4.Charity ambulance

A special type of patient transport ambulance which is provided by a charity for the purpose of taking sick children or adults on trips or vacations away from hospitals, hospices or care homes where they are in long term care.

5.Bariatric ambulance

A special type of patient transport ambulance which is designed for extremely obese patients equipped with the appropriate tools to move and manage these patients.

Basic Life Support Ambulance

These ambulances are more suitable for those patients who do not require advance medical support or cardiac monitoring until they reach the hospital. BLS ambulances are equipped with basic lifesaving equipment such as BP monitor, stretcher, and oxygen cylinder.

Advance Life Support Ambulance:

ALS ambulances are used to transport patients who require a higher level of care until they reach the hospital. These emergency ambulance services are staffed with a paramedic or relevant doctor to aid the patient. These are fitted with all advanced life support supplies required to aid the severely ill or injured patient or cardiac patient, like cardiac monitor, incubator, IV supplies, ventilator, defibrillators, oxygen cylinders, nebulizer, resuscitation kit and BP apparatus.

Patient Transfer Ambulance:

Also known as Non-Emergency Patient Transfer or Transport, this ambulance is for patients who require constant clinical monitoring but are not in the direct need of time-critical emergency or those who are confined to wheelchairs and need mobility assistance.

Mortuary Ambulance:

These ambulances are mainly for the transportation of a dead body.

Irrespective of the types of ambulance in India, all of them are equipped with basic life-saving equipment and medicines for emergency. Ambulance cost depends on the types of ambulance services you opt. We have seen ambulances racing down the street with their lights and sirens blazing and we all know that these emergency vehicles are very important in saving the lives of those patients who are in urgent need of a medical assistance. Apart from knowing the emergency ambulance numbers, one should also have a clarity on the types of ambulance in India and which one they should book depending on the emergencies.