Midwest Service Center
New Hudson, Michigan

"How did THAT happen ??"

                                                HOT DROPS

“Hot-dropping” is one of the techniques frequently used by medics to extract their cot from the back of an ambulance. Normally, the situation involves just one medic unloading an empty cot, releasing the lower frame without assistance. There are generally two methods of performing a hot drop, both of which damage the cot’s lower frame components:

  1. Once the cot has cleared the rear door threshold, and engaged the safety hook, the medic releases the lower frame, allowing it to freefall, and impact the ground with the head-end casters. This method causes premature failure of the caster bearings.
  2. The medic releases the lower frame as above, while lifting the foot-end of the cot higher so that the head-end casters do NOT impact the ground. This method causes internal fracturing of the lower lift-tubes on the X-frame assembly (seen at left).



Preventing the wheels from hitting the floor while hot dropping the cot actually causes more severe damage than allowing the wheels to hit the floor. More importantly, this fracturing is unseen, undetectable (except by dismantling the X-frame assembly), and will eventually (and unexpectedly) cause the cot to jam solidly in the full up position. Not a good thing when you can't get the cot back into the ambulance.


The cost to replace a set of head-end casters is minimal compared to that of risking patient safety in an X-frame failure situation. Even when a patient is not involved, the cot is out of service completely until repairs are made. And the cost of repairing a fractured X-frame is substantially higher than replacing two casters.


If a cot needs to be taken out of a vehicle with only one available medic, the preferred method is to lower the foot of the cot to the floor first, release the lower frame, and then lift the bed-frame back to the “up” position.


MX Pro Support Links - hitting the curb at speed with a patient.


Backrest Adjustment overloaded in the upright position. (How'd they do that?)


Ferno 35A Load Wheel (side hit)


No one wants to admit anything on this one - can only guess.




We welcome any photo contributions to this page.