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MONOC Releases New Siren Safety Video

Feb 12, 2013

MONOC Mobile Health Services has released a public service announcement (PSA) video outlining the misconceptions and dangers of emergency siren use. The short video addresses the common practice of lights and siren use on most EMS calls and that many studies have shown it to be of little value in the patient’s outcome.

Research has shown that EMS providers die more often than police and fire in transportation related collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there are 10,000 ambulance crashes per year. As a result of these collisions, there is one fatality per week involving EMS responders, their patients, occupants of other vehicles, or innocent bystanders.

The video supports the use of lights and sirens when dealing with a true emergency, but formal procedures should be in place to identify what a true emergency is before actually responding.

As part of the video, to further illustrate the perception that sirens don’t do what they are thought to do, MONOC conducted an experiment on a closed road in a setting reflecting a typical suburban neighborhood. The results showed that sirens were ineffective at competing with the masking noise generated by the road, car radios, ventilation fans, and other distracters including modern vehicle sound insulation.

After viewing the PSA, Nadine Levick, MD, of the EMS Safety Foundation said, “The siren effectiveness study demonstrates not only real world performance and effectiveness of siren use, it also demonstrates how important it is to conduct applied research on operational practice. The findings are of global significance, and from many dimensions this is a landmark study.”

The PSA strongly urges operators of emergency vehicles who choose to use their lights and sirens to remember they may not actually save any time and they will likely increase their risk of being involved in a serious collision.

View the PSA here: www.monoc.org/siren-PSA.cfm .