D.C. Ambulance Shuts Down En Route to Hospital

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A Washington, D.C. Fire Department ambulance shut down en route to the hospital with a shooting victim in cardiac arrest. According to www.washingtontimes.com, the ambulance that broke down becasue of an emissions system problem and is only one year old.

According to the video below, fire department officials state that after a warning to shut off the engine, the motor immediately began to shut down. Also, fire department officials expect to download information from teh vehicle’s “black box” recorder to try to determine why the engine shut down.

Editor’s Note
Although early reports are indicating that this incident occurred because of an emission system mandated by the United States Environmental Protection Association (EPA), it is important to remember that the actual cause of the engine shutdown has yet to be determined (as of May 30).

One report from WUSA-TV states that critics of the EPA mandate are calling for exemptions for emergency vehicles to remove the risk of emergency vehicles derating during an emergency response or at the scene of an emergency.

In fact, the EPA is working with engine manufacturers to implement “auxiliary emissions control devices” on their engines for emergency vehicles. For Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment coverage of emissions control systems, visit:

Aftertreatment Regeneration and the Fire Service
Chris Mc Loone and Brian Chaput Talk Engine Regen
Emergency Vehicles and the EPA

The June issue will also feature an article covering the impact of emissions changes.

There are a variety of lessons learned from this incident in Washington, D.C.—even from just the preliminary reports.

First, ensure your apparatus and ambulance operators know how to safely navigate a vehicle should a problem occur with the engine–whatever the problem is. In this case, the ambulance operator safely pulled the vehicle to the side of the highway.

Second, whether or not this incident is attributed to the failure of the emissions control system on the vehicle, ensure your apparatus and ambulance operators know what to do when the first regen light comes on. Putting vehicles through aftertreatment regeneration is a maintenance component for post 2010 engines. Although many have lobbied for emergency vehicles to be exempt from having to regen, aftertreatment regeneration is not going to go away. You’ll have several indications that the engine needs to go through a regen before it actually derates.

Refer to Aftertreatment Regeneration and the Fire Service for more information on the topic.

—Chris Mc Loone

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