The most unsafe aspect of working in EMS is being in an ambulance while it’s operating in a lights and sirens – or emergent – mode. The statistics have painted a very concerning picture of this danger. Ambulance crashes account for nearly 54 percent of the fatalities in EMS and 58 percent of those are while responding emergent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The costs associated with these events can cripple a business for years. So does speed really save lives?
Published research from various sources going back to the mid-90s not only confirms that these injuries and deaths could have been prevented; the majority of EMS responses aren’t time sensitive and therefore don’t require an emergent response. Clinical research has proven that faster response times doesn’t improve patient outcomes with the exception of a small set of presenting cases.
Ambulance crashes account for nearly 54 percent of the fatalities in EMS and 58 percent of those are while responding emergent.
Last month, ZOLL launched four new ambulance safety courses (worth 1.5 Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE) credits each) designed to provide a framework to help build a culture of safety within your organization at SUMMIT, our annual user conference in Denver. On June 13, I offered one of those courses – Emergency Response: A Dangerous Epidemic in EMS – via webinar. During the webinar, I addressed how to:
- Heighten the awareness of the risks associated with operating an ambulance in an emergent mode.
- Identify the hidden risk factors that contribute to the unsafe operation of an ambulance and the tactics to effect change.
- Provide strategies to educate EMS stakeholders – law enforcement, fire, medical facilities, government officials and the public – on the dangers of emergent responses and the rationale for reducing this dangerous practice.
- Describe how to dispel the myth of “speed saves lives” with evidence-based research.
- Examine clinical cases where improved patient outcomes can be attributed to a faster.
Interested in learning more about the other CAPCE courses? There will be opportunities throughout the year to learn more about high-performance ambulance safety, the culture of safe ambulance operations and ambulance safety design; contact me for more information.
This blog post is updated from the October 3, 2016 Lights and Sirens version.