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Ambulance Cleaning: A Complete Checklist

Ambulances are lifesaving support vehicles, staffed by skilled EMS professionals. Regardless of where an ambulance operates, proper cleaning and disinfection are essential for infection prevention and control. 

Unfortunately, identifying the steps for EMS cleaning can be easier said than done, and missing even a small step can put first responders and patients at risk. 

In this post, we’ll share our top ambulance cleaning protocols and ambulance disinfection guidelines to abide by.

Let’s get started. 

How to Deep Clean an Ambulance: 3 Steps

ambulance stretcher disinfection

These three steps ensure a comprehensive, thorough cleaning for your ambulance:

1. Set up the site

  • Choose an appropriate site for cleaning and disinfection. The right spot protects the vehicle and team from weather and outdoor elements. A large enclosed structure like a garage is ideal. 
  • Secure the perimeter. Once you’ve parked the ambulance in the cleaning location, establish a secure perimeter to ensure the safety of the public and all cleaning personnel. 
  • Mark contamination zones. Finally, define and mark warm, hot, and cold zones of contamination surrounding the ambulance, and establish which zones require PPE to enter. 

2. Prepare for cleaning

  • Remove contaminated materials. Patient care providers still wearing “dirty” PPE should remove all contaminated supplies, equipment, linen, and waste before leaving the vehicle and before removing Biocell liners from inside the ambulance, if the unit recently transported a COVID-19 patient. All equipment should then be placed in the “warm” zone of contamination. All contaminated waste, including drapes, wipes, and PPE should be considered a Category “A” infectious substance and packaged appropriately for disposal. 
  • Designate the cleaning team. The driver or other personnel will be responsible for disinfecting and cleaning the transport unit. Two people should clean the unit while another in clean PPE observes and assists, if necessary. 

3. Cleaning and disinfection

  • Begin cleaning. Cleaning should start at the entrance to the ambulance and move toward affected or contaminated areas. Cleaning the ambulance in this fashion allows clean personnel to remain clean as they enter the vehicle and remain in a “clean” area until they exit. 
  • Use approved cleaning compounds. Cleaning personnel should use EPA-registered cleaning and disinfectant products, according to manufacturer guidelines, and observe required “dwell times,” or periods for which the surface must stay wet after cleaning for complete disinfection. 

Here are additional guidelines for cleaning and disinfection:

  • Cleaning teams should clean all surfaces within the vehicle, using disposable cleaning cloths. 
  • Remove all visible signs of soiling on all surfaces.
  • Allow surfaces to stay wet for specified dwell times, reapplying cleaner if necessary. 
  • Change cloths frequently, disposing of the used cloths in a biohazard bag. 
  • Manually wipe the ambulance’s exterior patient loading doors, handles, and any other external areas that may be contaminated. 
  • Disinfect the outside of all prepositioned medical equipment still inside its protective bag. 
  • Dispose of any prepositioned medical equipment that cannot be properly cleaned or disinfected. 
  • Dispose of all waste as “Category A” waste, according to organization protocols. 

How do you Clean Blood From an Ambulance?

According to the Bureau of EMS, Trauma, & Preparedness (BETP), any areas visibly contaminated with a patient’s blood or other body fluids should be decontaminated with an EPA-registered disinfectant first, before soaking up the fluid with absorbent materials. 

Biohazard bags should be close to the cleaning site and used to dispose of cleaning cloths. 

How do you Clean a Stretcher?

To clean a stretcher, hand wash all surfaces with warm water and mild d detergent. Dry the stretcher thoroughly. Do not steam clean, hose, or pressure wash the stretcher.  

Suggested cleaners include the following:

  • Quaternary Cleaners (with ammonium chloride as the active ingredient)
  • Phenolic Cleaners (with the active ingredient o-phenylphenol)
  • Chlorinated bleach solutions (5.25% – less than 1 part bleach to 100 parts water)

Regardless of what cleaning product you use, be careful to avoid oversaturation. Additionally, ensure that the product does not stay wet longer than the product’s manufacturer guidelines specify. 

How Often Should an Ambulance be Cleaned?

An ambulance should be cleaned thoroughly after each call and should undergo deep disinfection several times a year. 

While EMS personnel can conduct most daily and weekly cleaning duties, it’s wise to hire a skilled EMS cleaning team to provide routine deep cleanings. 

Looking for Ambulance Cleaning Services in Chicago, IL? Turn to ServiceMaster of Lake Shore

For ambulance deep cleaning, you need an experienced biohazard cleaning team that understands ambulance cleaning protocols and can help you continue providing outstanding care. 

Fortunately, ServiceMaster of Lake Shore is here for you. 

Contact us today to learn more about our EMS cleaning services or book your cleaning now.