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NEMSQA presents report on reduced use of ‘running hot’

Findings from an analysis of over 5 million 911 calls offer a reduction in use of lights, siren for EMS personnel safety



By Bill Carey

IRVING, Texas — The National EMS Quality Alliance (NEMSQA) has released their report on the relationship between the use of emergency lights and sirens while responding to a call, and ambulance crashes.

The report, “Improving Safety in EMS: Reducing the Use of Lights and Siren,” presents results, lessons learned and change strategies developed during the 15-month long Lights and Siren Collaborative.

“The best practices that have emerged from this project will allow every agency, regardless of service model or size, to more safely and effectively respond to 911 calls.” NEMSQA Board President Michael Redlener said.

The report shows that “running hot,” with lights and siren, is strongly ingrained in the EMS culture, terminology, identity and recruitment. Findings from an analysis of over 5 million 911 calls showed that less than 7% had any potentially life-saving intervention done at any point in time during the call, including after arrival at the emergency department.

Also in that analysis, the report shows lights and siren use only shortens average response times an average of 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

“By utilizing less lights and sirens during EMS response and transport, our efforts have shown measurable increases in safety. The EMS community and the general public will surely benefit from the now-proven tactics provided by this partnership,” Mike Taigman, improvement guide with FirstWatch and faculty leading the collaborative, stated.