There are several different types of ambulance services:
Government ambulances operate apart from the police and fire services. They receive funding by the national, provincial, or local government. Oftentimes, government ambulances are only found in larger cities. Within the United States, they are considered a third service that is provided by the government.
In France, Japan, the United States, and other, an ambulance can also be operated by the police or fire service. The act of other services operating ambulances is very common in rural areas where having separate services is not the most affordable option. As a result, sometimes an injury or an illness may be taken care of by a non-ambulance vehicle like a police car. In other instances, the tools and gear for fighting a fire are sometimes stored on ambulances. With the ambulance prepared, service crews are able to non-medical emergencies and fires using an ambulance.
Another ambulance service available in patient transport and emergency situations is from non-profit companies and charities. This might be handled by volunteer fire companies that are either privately or community owned offering service for a certain location. This type of ambulance service might also be connected to voluntary fire services where volunteers help to provide the service. Some charities focus on offering community ambulance services or services for a specific event. For example, the Red Cross, the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps., and St. John Ambulance all offer ambulatory services on a volunteer basis to various parts of the world. Volunteer ambulance services may also help support ambulance crews that work full time in emergency circumstances. Sometimes charity organizations may also use paid employees to help volunteers with ambulance services that are full time.
Private ambulance services are commercial companies that are typically on a contract with the national or local government and have paid employees. Private companies often only offer the ambulance service to transport patients.
In some instances, however, they are also contracted to offer a second tier response or emergency care when the full time ambulance crews are busy. In cases like these, the government service will often offer the emergency service while a private company will help with the smaller injuries like bruises and cuts. A private company may also lend a hand when a person’s mobility has been impaired because they fell and need help getting back up, but are not in need of any type of medical treatment. A system like this is beneficial because emergency crews will be available at all times for any true emergency situation. Private ambulance services often also offer stand by cover during special events or at industrial sites.