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Home > Topics > Ambulances / Emergency Vehicles
February 19, 2013
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

The dangers we face on the road

National studies show paramedics and EMTs face greater risks on the road compared to other drivers

By Arthur Hsieh

An ambulance crash in Indianapolis claimed the lives of two EMTs on Saturday. Such tragedies are becoming far too common. On behalf of EMS1, we wish the surviving family and friends of our fallen colleagues well.

It'll be some time before the exact cause of death is known for the two providers. Yet, we must advocate for better safety while driving our vehicles.

Even where no mistakes are made and the cases where deaths were not preventable, we should acknowledge LODDs as a reminder of the dangers we can face on the roads.

National studies show paramedics and EMTs face greater risks on the road compared to other drivers.

Our driving practices must reflect that our chances of being killed in a crash is much greater than other high-risk occupations. Frankly, we need to stop driving with lights and siren routinely.

Our vehicles must be built better with more protection in both the cab and patient compartment.

Our work space must be designed so that we can remain protected and stick function effectively on critical patients.

For nonemergent patients we must not take the risk of being unbuckled in the back to perform unnecessary tasks.

Please folks, I implore you. Recognize that our work environment contains hazards. Realize that you — we — can do something about it.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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