Emergency services – licence and medical requirements

Medicals are an increasing requirement these days to drive a number of different classes of vehicles and this also applies to areas of the emergency services.

It’s all about the kind of licence you need to drive a particular type of vehicle and the emergency services have a range of transport options at their disposal to carry out their essential operations effectively.

They include fire engines, police minibuses and ambulances, some licences of which require drivers to have medicals and some don’t! We are seeing an increase in members of the emergency services taking their driver medicals with us, so let us explain how it works!

A great partnership

D4Drivers already partners with Shropshire Fire and Rescue and West Sussex Fire and Rescue to carry out medicals for fire engine drivers – a service we are looking to expand to other areas of the country.

The law regarding fire engines is simple. As they are over 7.5 tonnes, anyone who drives them needs to obtain a C category licence and, therefore, a medical to obtain that licence.

It’s not quite so clear cut for paramedics driving ambulances or police officers driving minibuses and although those organisations are well aware of and are complying with the law regarding licences and medicals, it might be helpful to clarify the situation for you.

Student paramedics signing up

Some police officers need medicals to drive police minibuses, and some student paramedics need medicals to drive ambulances. It’s an increasing number and we are seeing more and more student paramedics sign up for their medicals with us. 

The reason for this is that anyone who passed their car driving test 1997 onwards only gets a car licence, category B, which entitles them to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. 

This means that to drive ambulances, which are over 3.5 tonne with all the kit, or to drive a police minibus, you have to obtain the relevant licence category and therefore a medical.

Those people who passed their car driving test pre-1997 will have C1/D1 on their licence, C1 being up to 7.5 tonnes – so covers ambulances – and D1 being minibuses – so covers police minibuses. 

This explains why it’s usually younger drivers who need to pass a medical to obtain their C1 or D1 licence and, of course, as time passes more and more drivers will fall into this category as pre-1997 licence holders become fewer.