During or after your EMT course, you will be expected to complete ride-along hours at an ambulance agency or fire department. This is an invaluable experience that you will never forget. The purpose of getting training in this manner is to provide you with hands on experience as an EMT before you become an EMT.

Typically, you will be required to wear the student uniform as well as blue or black pants, depending on the agency, steel-toed boots, and other items which may be required by the department or organization. Please do your very best to arrive as early as possible to put on the best impression. be sure to ask questions, but also give your preceptor space so that they can complete their other job duties effectively.

The EMT Field Instructor (Preceptor)

Often times you will be provided with a preceptor who has formal training either as a Field Training Officer (FTO) or as a student trainer. Other times you may interact with staff who might be less than enthusiastic about having students ride-along. While this is regrettable, some providers are not interested in teaching. But try to keep an open mind to make the best experience possible for yourself. If you will be completing your ride-along during dinner time, it is possible that you may be expected to pitch in a few dollars for dinner. Be sure to assist departmental members with cleaning and preparing for meals as well as cleaning up afterwards. The EMS community is very closely connected so you don’t want to make a bad impression.

With regard to your actual ambulance time, be sure to do your best to get familiar with the equipment which your preceptor and their partner may be using. While it might be difficult to accomplish all of these things in one ride-along, it is never a bad idea to ask if you can assist your preceptor with a check-off of the ambulance or unit which will be used during your ride-along. This will help you to get familiar with the equipment so that if you were called upon to assist, you will be able to do so in a quick manner. This is should be done every day when you become an EMT and if you choose to work on an ambulance.

Once you are on scene, be sure to give your preceptor and their partner enough space to do their job, while remaining With the patient. It is a good idea to plan out in advance how much assistance you will be permitted to perform by your preceptor prior to encountering any patients in the field or in the back of the ambulance. Preparation is key! Especially if you would like to have a good experience at your ride along.