1916: Ambulances - World War I

1916: Ambulances - World War I

Cross Posted: EMS History; Ambulances; By Era; Land Based; Public Sector Services
Submitter/Author: Courtesy Wikipedia (kpr 6-07)
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Ambulance WC-64 KD Military

World War On


Ford 1916 Model T Field Ambulance. This canvas on wood frame model was used extensively by the British & French as well as the American Expeditionary Force in World War I . Its top speed was 45mph produced by a 4 cylinder water cooled engine.

During World War One, the Red Cross brought in the first widespread battlefield motor ambulances to replace horse drawn vehicles, which was such a success, the horse drawn variants were quickly phased out. In civilian emergency care, dedicated ambulance services were frequently managed or dispatched by individual hospitals , though in some areas, telegraph and telephone services enabled police departments to handle dispatch duties.[20]

The equipment carried by the ambulance was changing fast at this time. Traction splints were introduced during World War I , and were found to have a positive effect on the morbidity and mortality of patients with leg fractures. Two-way radios became available shortly after World War I, enabling for more efficient radio dispatch of ambulances. Shortly before World War II , then, a modern ambulance carried advanced medical equipment, was staffed by a physician , and was dispatched by radio. It was frequently found that ambulances were hearses - the only available vehicle that could carry a recumbent patient - and were thus frequently run by funeral homes , these vehicles which could serve for either purpose were known as combination cars .[20][27]


20.  Kuehl, Alexander E. (Ed.). Prehospital Systems and Medical Oversight, 3rd edition. National Association of EMS Physicians. 2002 . @ ch. 1.

27.  Miller-Meteor History. Retrieved on 2007-06-02

Keywords: ambulance, military, WWI

Last Revision Date: 6/25/07 - 3:26 PM

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