Saving Lives with Features that Protect

The Benefits of GCFI on Your Ambulance

Osage Ambulances takes pride in delivering rigs to our communities that are customized to their unique needs and specifications. And the electrical systems that power your on-road equipment are of no exception. All Osage Ambulances come standard with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet at the inverter.

The GFCI outlet protects your staff and occupants from unintended electrical shocks. Using a built-in sensor, a GFCI outlet measures the power coming in and then returning to your outlet. It detects ground faults even as low as 4 milliamps and reacts quickly to shut down circuits that are out of range.

When a GFCI “trips” it is working as designed. When the GFCI’s internal current transformer senses more than a 4-5 milliamp loss, it instantly shuts down the outlet and any outlets it feeds to prevent accidental electrocution. Most often, a GFCI “trips” as the result of a faulty appliance plugged into the outlet or an outlet down circuit.


Troubleshooting a GFCI Circuit Failure

  1. First verify that the GFCI outlet is tripped by powering the 120-volt system by either starting the truck or plugging in the shoreline. The GFCI outlet is on the inverter. It has a red and green light on it. If the red light is on, the GFCI is tripped. If the green light is on, the GFCI is not tripped, and power should be going to the outlets. Sometimes a GFCI trips randomly. This could be caused by a piece of equipment that has capacitors in it. When the capacitors charge the return voltage on, the neutral may drop, causing the GFCI to trip. If your circuit fails often, there is an easy way to diagnose the cause. First, unplug all equipment plugged into or down circuit from the GFCI. Then reset your GFCI by pushing the button in the center of the outlet.
  2. Next, plug each piece of equipment back into the GFCI one at a time. Turn them on to see which appliance is causing the outlet to “trip”. Check the suspect appliance for damage or loose wires. Please note, if you plug in your charger and the GFCI immediately trips, it’s likely you have a faulty charger and the GFCI is operating as designed. When you plug in any electrical appliance, the electricity will flow from the hot wire (the right slot) to the neutral wire (the left slot). If the neutral wire is loose, the open neutral will also cause the GFCI to “trip”.

Osage Ambulances recommends that all GFCI’s be tested monthly on your truck to ensure they are operating correctly. Simply push the TEST button to turn power off to the circuit which should cause the RESET button to pop up. Then hit RESET to turn the GFCI back on.

Remember, the GFCI is an added safety feature for you and your crew. Taking steps to ensure its proper functioning will prevent injury and allow your equipment to operate as designed. As always, if your ambulance is experiencing any electrical issues, our experienced technicians are here to diagnose and repair, so you can get back in service as soon as possible.