[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Charles County 11-13-1974 by Ord. No. 74-25. Amendments noted where applicable.]
County Commissioners — See Ch. 27.
Fire companies and rescue squads — See Ch. 54.
Medical treatment and facilities — See Ch. 80.
Editor's Note: This ordinance further provided that it shall take effect 11-1-1974.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Charles County Ordinance Regulating Private Ambulances."
For the purposes of this chapter, the words and phrases listed in this section are defined as here indicated:
- A vehicle constructed and operated with the primary purpose of transporting an ill, sick or injured patient. The term includes any such vehicle which is regularly operated or held out for providing commercial ambulance service in Charles County or to the residents of Charles County, and the term does not include any such vehicle which operates within Charles County or for residents of Charles County only upon rare, unusual or emergency conditions.
- A trained and/or qualified individual responsible for the operation of an ambulance and the care of the patients, whether or not the "attendant" also serves as a driver.
- An individual, firm, partnership, association, company, organization or corporation, but does not include any governmental body.
No ambulance shall be operated and no person shall operate an ambulance upon the streets, roads or highways of Charles County without first obtaining a license as hereinafter provided from the Clerk to the County Commissioners. This license requirement does not apply to an ambulance operated by an agency of the United States nor does this license requirement apply to an ambulance operating from a location outside of the County transporting through the County, but not picking up or discharging passengers in the County.
License applications. Applications for licenses hereunder shall be made upon forms provided by the Clerk to the County Commissioners and shall contain:
The name and address of the owner of the ambulance.
A description of the ambulance, including the make, model, year of manufacture, state license number for the current year, motor and chassis numbers, the length of time that the ambulance has been in use and the color scheme, insignia, name, monogram or other distinguishing characteristics to be used to designate the applicant's ambulance.
The location and description of the place or places from which it is intended to operate.
The training and experience of the applicant in the transportation and care of patients.
Such other information as the Clerk to the County Commissioners shall find necessary for a fair determination of whether the terms of this chapter have been complied with.
License year. The license year shall extend from July 1 to June 30, inclusive, in each year.
An application for a license hereunder shall be accompanied by a fee of $10 for the first vehicle and $5 for each additional vehicle.
Within 10 days after receipt of an application as provided herein, the Clerk to the County Commissioners shall cause an investigation to be made of the applicant and his proposed operation.
The Clerk to the County Commissioners shall issue a license hereunder when he finds that:
The public convenience and necessity require the proposed ambulance service for which application has been submitted. In determining whether the public convenience and necessity require the licensing of the proposed ambulance service, the Clerk to the County Commissioners shall consider whether the public is adequately served by existing service; the financial responsibility of the applicant; the number, kind and type of equipment; the schedule of rates proposed to be charged; and such other facts as the Clerk to the County Commissioners shall consider relevant.
The ambulances and premises have been certified to the County Commissioners by the Standards Committee of the Charles County Rescue Squad Association and the attendants have been certified by the Clerk to the County Commissioners as provided herein.
Insurance, as required by this chapter, is in effect.
All the requirements of this chapter and all other governing laws and ordinances have been met.
[Amended 7-17-1990 by Ord. No. 90-58]
Equipment standards. Each ambulance shall, at all times when in use as such, contain minimum equipment conforming to standards on file in the office of the County Clerk.
The interior of the ambulance and the equipment within the ambulance shall be sanitary and maintained in good working order at all times.
Equipment shall be of smooth and easily cleanable construction.
Freshly laundered linen or disposable sheets and pillow cases or their equivalent will be used in transporting patients and shall be changed after each use. At least one complete change will be carried on the ambulance at all times.
Adequate and clean storage for linen, disposable sheets and pillow cases or their equivalent shall be provided on each ambulance.
First-aid supplies will be stored in a clean container, free from dust, insects and rodents.
Pillows and mattresses shall be kept clean and in good repair. Moistureproof protective covers shall be provided.
Suitable containers shall be provided for soiled supplies.
The ambulance interior shall be cleaned after each use.
Exterior surfaces of the ambulance shall be kept clean.
Blankets used in any ambulance shall be cleaned at reasonable intervals.
Implements inserted in a patient's nose or mouth shall be single-service wrapped and properly stored and handled. When multiple-use items are used, sanitizing of such articles must be accomplished after each use.
All storage spaces used for the storage of linen, disposable sheets and pillow cases or their equivalent and equipment, first-aid supplies and other supplies, at base stations or in ambulances, shall be kept clean and free from unnecessary articles. At base stations, content shall be at least 12 inches above the floor or otherwise arranged so as to permit thorough cleaning and prevent contamination when floors are being cleaned.
Equipment and apparatus.
The ambulance and its equipment and apparatus shall be inspected by the Standards Committee of the Charles County Rescue Squad Association at least twice each calendar year to determine if the ambulance complies with the standards as specified in § 218-8 of this chapter.
On or before the first day of June and December of each calendar year, the Charles County Rescue Squad Association shall submit a written report to the County Commissioners of Charles County stating whether or not the ambulance service meets the standards as specified in § 218-8 of this chapter.
Vehicles and premises. The Standards Committee of the Charles County Rescue Squad Association shall inspect the vehicles and premises designated in an application hereunder and shall certify their approval to the County Commissioners, who will notify the Clerk to the County Commissioners when they find that such vehicles and premises are suitable from the standpoint of health and sanitation for the conduct of an ambulance business and that they meet the standards as specified in this chapter. The Standards Committee shall inspect the vehicles and premises designated in an application as provided in § 218-4 of this chapter.
Licenses issued for any vehicle may be transferred to another vehicle belonging to the same licensee upon filing with the Clerk to the County Commissioners an application therefor, duly verified and showing that the vehicle previously licensed has become obsolete or has been destroyed and that such vehicle is no longer to be used for the purpose herein contemplated. The vehicle to which the license is transferred shall conform to all the requirements of this chapter as upon original licensing. If satisfied that the transfer is in good faith and not for the purpose of evasion, the Clerk to the County Commissioners shall require a surrender of the former certificate and issue a new one, charging a transfer fee of $5 therefor.
License required. No person shall drive or serve as an attendant of an ambulance licensed hereunder without first procuring a license from the Clerk to the County Commissioners.
Standards for issuance. The Clerk to the County Commissioners shall issue a license under this section when he finds that the applicant:
Is of sound health with good eyesight and not subject to epilepsy, vertigo, heart trouble or any other infirmity of body or mind which might render him unfit for the safe operation of the ambulance.
Is able to speak, read and write the English language.
Is not addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors or narcotics.
Has an American Red Cross Advanced First-Aid Card and whose certificate is up-to-date.
Has complied with the requirements of this chapter and all other governing laws and ordinances.
Application form and contents. Applications for licenses under this section shall be made upon forms prepared by the Clerk to the County Commissioners and shall contain:
A statement giving the applicant's full name, residence and length of time he has lived in the County.
The applicant's age, marital status, height and color of eyes and hair.
The applicant's training and experience in the transportation and care of patients.
Whether he has ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
Whether he has previously been licensed as an attendant and, if so, when and where and whether his license has ever been revoked or suspended and for what cause.
Submission of photographs required.
Each applicant for a license under this section shall file with his application two recent photographs of himself of a size designated by the Clerk to the County Commissioners. The Clerk to the County Commissioners shall attach one photograph to the license and shall file the other with the application.
The Clerk to the County Commissioners shall so attach the photograph to the license that it cannot be removed and another photograph substituted without probability of detection. Each licensed driver shall, upon demand of the Clerk to the County Commissioners, a policeman or a passenger, exhibit his license and photograph for inspection. Any licensee who defaces, removes or obliterates any official entry made upon his license shall have his license revoked.
An applicant for a license hereunder shall file with the Clerk to the County Commissioners an insurance policy, to be approved by the County Commissioners, providing insurance coverage for each and every ambulance owned, operated and/or leased by the applicant for injury to or death of persons in accidents resulting from any cause for which the owner of said vehicle would be liable on account of any liability imposed on him by law, regardless of whether the ambulance was being driven by the owner or his agent or lessee, and as against damage to the property of another, including personal property, under like circumstances in sums to be approved by the County Commissioners.
Continuance after recovery. Every such policy of insurance shall continue to the full amount thereof, notwithstanding any recovery thereon, and the liability of the insurer shall not be affected by the insolvency or bankruptcy of the insured. The policy shall run to the County for the benefit of any and all judgment creditors.
Coverage period. Every insurance policy required hereunder shall extend for the period to be covered by the license applied for, and the insurer shall be obliged to give not less than 10 days' written notice to the Clerk to the County Commissioners and to the insured before any cancellation or termination thereof earlier than its expiration date, and the cancellation or other termination of any such policy shall automatically revoke and terminate the licenses issued for the ambulances covered by such policy, unless another insurance policy complying with the provisions of this section shall be provided and be in effect at the time of such cancellation or termination.
Procedures. The County Commissioners may and are hereby authorized to suspend a license for a period not to exceed 30 days or revoke a license issued hereunder upon a finding by the Commissioners that the operator or owner of an ambulance licensed under this chapter has been guilty of carelessness or unsafe conduct prejudicial to the safety, health and welfare of users of such ambulances or of the residents of this County or for failure of a license to comply and to maintain compliance with or for his violation of any applicable provisions, standards, requirements or regulations of this chapter or of any other applicable laws, ordinances or regulations. Within 10 days after a suspension, the licensee shall be afforded a hearing after reasonable notice. The County Commissioners shall, within 20 days after the conclusion of such hearing, issue a written decision, which shall include written findings, as to the suspension of said licensee. Such written decision shall be promptly transmitted to the licensee to whom it refers.
Prima facie evidence. The initial or semiannual ambulance, equipment and premises inspection report of the Charles County Rescue Squad Association herein provided for shall be prima facie evidence of compliance or noncompliance with or violation of the provisions, standards and requirements provided herein and of the regulations promulgated hereunder for the licensing of ambulances.
Effect. Upon suspension, revocation or termination of an ambulance license hereunder, operations as such shall cease with such ambulance, and no person shall permit continued operation with such ambulance as such. Upon suspension, revocation or termination of an attendant's license hereunder, such attendant shall cease to attend an ambulance and no person shall employ or permit such individual to attend an ambulance.
Any person violating any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $100. Each day that a violation continues shall be a separate offense.