November 8, 2011 – Motor vehicle crashes involving ambulances pose a serious risk to both crew and patients. Recognizing the magnitude and severity of this risk, the Fire Protection Research Foundation recently released a report, “Analysis of Ambulance Crash Data”. The Foundation is the research affiliate for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The report focuses on the collection of ambulance crash data, including fatalities and injuries from all 50 states, and the methods used to collect this data. The project stems from NFPA’s recent series of Emergency Management Services (EMS)-related efforts to develop a national standard for ambulance safety that addresses EMS responder health and protection and improved vehicle design and maintenance. Information on ambulance accidents was requested by the NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances Technical Committee to assist in identifying efforts that would have a positive impact on responder safety. The report was conducted with guidance provided by a Project Technical Panel of emergency medical service providers, data collection professionals, and other subject-matter experts.
According to the report, data documented on a state or local level typically includes the number of crashes, cause and contributing factors, and injuries or fatalities of personnel and civilians, however, each state has different methodologies for collecting and using this data. The final report takes into account ambulance reportable crashes that cause vehicular property damage and/or injury to either the EMS crew or others, and includes recommendations for developing a more comprehensive data collection system that can be used nationally to improve safety for EMS providers and their patients.
With the fire service being among the largest providers of emergency services, NFPA is a valued resource for the EMS community with almost 40 documents that touch on a number of emergency management issues including NFPA 450, Guide for Emergency Medical Services and Systems; NFPA 1061, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Public Safety Telecommunicator; NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments.
In 2008, NFPA’s Standards Council approved NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances, for inclusion in the 2012 revision cycle. The new standard establishes the minimum requirements, performance parameters, and essential criteria for new EMS vehicles, and could replace federal specification requirements currently guiding ambulance construction. Learn more about NFPA’s forthcoming ambulance standard and NFPA’s involvement in emergency and medical services in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal® which features a video of NFPA’s Larry Stewart providing an overview of NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances.
About the Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Fire Protection Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate of NFPA.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.