Ambulance were originally devised to serve the purpose of a military campaign and their use in civil was a much later development. Baron Larrey first contrived “ambulance volantes” for the “Grand Armee” under Napoleon. Originally they were spoken of as ” Hospitals Ambulants”, thus indicating the true nature of the service – an extension from a base hospital to the site of the casualty on the battle field.
For civilians suffering from infectious diseases, an ambulance service was established about the middle of the last century in London, a leading metropolitan city of the world. The earliest attempt to provide an ambulance service for non-infectious cases was in the year 1882 when the London Horse Ambulance Service was founded. In 1902 the Metropolitan Asylums Board, London, first used a steam ambulance carrying eight patients, and from 1904 a motor ambulance was introduced. At the same time, provision for dealing with the sick and the injured citizens was made by voluntary philanthropic agencies such as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps. They maintained hand litters and stretchers at certain police stations in London and co-operated with the police in dealing with casualties on occasions of public processions and gatherings of large number of persons in the streets. In 1915, an entirely independent accident ambulance service was put into operation under the control of the Chief Officer of the London Fire Brigade. The London Ambulance Service, one of the finest in the World, was established in 1930 to which was transferred all the ambulance services previously maintained by the Metropolitan Asylums Board and other voluntary agencies.
The objects, among others, of the Service Station are (1) to remove helpless patients from their home to hospitals or from their hospitals to home or from one place to another in the City and its sububs, (2) to attend to street accidents and other emergencies, and (3) to provide for such medical relief as is possible in times of distrubances, epidemics etc.