Commandeering Quads in the Middle of the Desert


Forum Asst. Chief
Dispatched for unknown MVA in a town 30 miles away, best location is a "X dirt road south of Y highway near Z land mark", giving us several miles of possible location for an off road MVA. Fire is not responding (for whatever reason) and there is no airship available. We meet up with highway patrol who also has no idea where this is or how to get there. Start driving down unmarked dirt road for about 30 minutes before reaching a point where our truck could go no further. Huge rocks in the road that would have blown a tire if we could even get clearance over them.
So we decide to turn around and try another unmarked dirt road, but before we can get there a group of quads come up behind us and flag us down. They were with the rider who went down and tell us he's back where we were, several miles past the impassable portion of road. So turn back around, and drive back down the same bit of awful dirt road to where we can go no further.
My partner and I hop out and start talking with the group of ATVs, getting some info on the patients condition and his location.
So at this point we have no airship, no other responding agencies, and no way of getting our ambulance any further...
So let's ride some quads.
Grab the first in bag, commandeer the quad and take off following one of the riders who knows the pt location. Find a 50 something male down in the dirt road complaining of hip and leg pain after crashing his dirtbike at low speed. At this point a retired FF and self-described 'full-time badass' (his words) shows up with a 4x4 SUV, and plywood for loading the quads onto the trailer.
So, make a backboard out of plywood, strap the patient down and drop the seats in the back of the SUV. Load the patient and take off down the road at the blistering speed of 5mph. Get to the impassable section of road again and the SUV can't go any further. Hike up a backboard from the truck, transfer the patient over, and hike him down to the truck before transporting a pelvic/femur fx down over an hour of bumpy dirt road. 5 hours from call time to clear, and he said he went down a couple hours before being able to call.

I think I like rural EMS...thank god I got out of LA County


Forum Troll
The majority of the off roading community are fantastic. That is why I am an avid dirt bike rider. If an off roader is injured friends of the rider or even passer bys will get you where ever you need to go.

A company I used to work at covered large desert races in 4x4 ambulances. One of the EMTs got the ambulance stuck down to the frame rails. Before he could even get out of the unit off roaders were already digging and attaching tow cables to pull it out.

I would give up 911 EMS to work full time as a medic at Ocotillo wells or Glamis any day.

We can be very stubborn at times but are willing to help out.


Has no idea what I'm doing.
If I ever get the spare cash I really want to get into off roading. But right now I have other priorities...


Forum Deputy Chief
I have had people with quads show up when they see the ambulance go past. They knew we wouldn't get far.

Our trucks are 4 wheel drive, with decent clearance, but street tires: doesn't make much sense


Forum Deputy Chief
Why was there no airship? Why not get chp to get their chopper.

Handsome Robb

Premium Member
Us OHV people generally are all like family. I've been talking with our SAR team about next winter and me, since I always seem I end up landing a helo in the backcountry when we're sledding for some random person.

Sounds like a cool call!


Forum Asst. Chief
Why was there no airship? Why not get chp to get their chopper.

Sometimes both of the airships within a reasonable distance are on assignment, sometimes it's weather related, but in this case we had no cell phone or radio contact until almost reaching the highway at which point no time would have been saved.
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Forum Captain
Kern County and Tulare County are so much fun and I love working both of them. Wait until you get your first 0200 hike in call. Those suck at the time but when you look back on them you realize they are a blast and as other posters have stated, the riding communities, ranchers, and many of the residents out there are willing to help out in whatever way possible. They city is cool, but I agree with you, rural EMS is the best!


Grumpy Badger
I used to work in a rural area and loved it. Once we got to ride in to the patient on horseback! A couple guys with extra horses met us at the trail head and took us way up into the hills. I'm not normally a horseback rider, so I was sore as heck the next day, but it was really fun.


Forum Lieutenant
I'm in SoCal and work for a rural EMS provider and LOVE it. It has is boring moments, but the calls are sure worth it. We do get a bit of off road stuff and getting the rig stuck is almost a requisite to working where I do lol