All field staff (about 45 employees) are required to attend the training each year. The training is based upon a program developed by Volunteer Fireman's Insurance Service (VFIS), which is a national emergency services insurer that Operation Life utilizes for its vehicle insurance.
The timed course consisted of various stations emphasizing driving fundamentals such as backing into a simulated bay, narrowing lane clearances, a lane change, stop sign, and even parallel parking.
"The course layout is set by VFIS, but we do make modifications as needed," said OL executive director Kraig Kinney. "This year we added an overhead clearance that was meant to simulate tree branches or other objects that may hang low across many of the Putnam County roadways."
Kinney said the changes were made due to larger fleet size of the ambulances, which allow better room for patient care and comfort, but do make the vehicles larger than older ambulance models in terms of height, width, and length.
Besides the driving course, employees hired in the past year are required to attend a classroom portion that covers basic principles of emergent and safe driving.