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DHS S&T Releases Safety Resources For Ambulances

May 11, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced the release of two ambulance safety resources for emergency medical services (EMS) leaders, professionals and organizations nationwide. The documents aim to reduce the injury and fatality rate of EMS personnel.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate of EMS professionals is three times greater than the average in any other occupation. The first of the two resources released, the Ambulance Patient Compartment Human Factors Design Guidebook, recommends improved physical design standards. The second resource, the Research Study of Ambulance Operations and Best Practice Considerations for Emergency Medical Services Personnel, addresses operational procedures and practices while operating an ambulance.

To develop design guidelines, S&T coordinated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to observe EMS professionals in the back of ambulances, specifically looking at the ergonomics of the patient compartment. They worked with EMS providers to determine the safest position for the caregiver and the patient. Additionally, the multi-agency team looked at the safety of the individual aspects of the vehicle in the event of a crash, and developed recommendations for EMS provider and patient restraints, cots and equipment mountings.