Any ambulance operated as such shall operate with sufficient personnel for adequate patient care, at least one of whom shall be an emergency medical technician under standards promulgated by the secretary. The emergency medical technician shall have responsibility for its operation and for the care of patients both before they are placed aboard the vehicle and during transit. If there are two or more emergency medical technicians operating the ambulance, a nondriving medical technician shall be in command of the vehicle. The emergency medical technician in command of the vehicle shall be in the patient compartment and in attendance to the patient.
Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the driver of the ambulance shall have at least a certificate of advance first aid qualification recognized by the secretary pursuant to RCW 18.73.120 unless there are at least two certified emergency medical technicians in attendance of the patient, in which case the driver shall not be required to have such certificate.
With approval from the department, an ambulance service established by volunteer or municipal corporations**, or by an association made up entirely of two or more municipalities,** in a rural area with insufficient personnel may use a driver without any medical or first aid training so long as the driver is at least eighteen years old, successfully passes a background check issued or approved by the department, possesses a valid driver's license with no restrictions, is accompanied by a nondriving emergency medical technician while operating the ambulance during a response or transport of a patient, and only provides medical care to patients to the level that they are trained.