Thursday, February 09, 2017

You may be in danger in the ambulance

Whew. The ambulance--and you assume help--finally arrives. But ambulances are not Federally regulated. The rules and training of drivers and crews are left to the local entities, with minimal state guidance.

As a patient or even an EMT, you could be entering into more danger.

This according to a story in Emergency Management magazine.

Ambulances are involved in 4,500 crashes a year on average. About 2,600 people a year are injured and 33 killed (National Highway Traffic Safety Admin). Included in the casualties are some pedestrians, cyclists, and people in other vehicles.

In one instance cited, the ambulance driver was consulting the GPS on her phone and crashed through a guardrail and off an embankment. The 56-yr-old patient was thrown out and killed and the EMS worker, also not strapped in, was injured.

Some agencies require workers and patients to wear lap and shoulder restraints, but others don't.

Also--in many places, ambulance drivers get no special training, even though they speed through traffic.

Experts say ambulances should be safer than cars and held to standards more like school buses, which are subject to Federal rules.

Do school buses require the kids to wear seatbelts? Just asking.

It is the height of irony to be killed in an ambulance. But irony aside, you are still dead.

I have ridden in an ambulance once--the EMT did not wear a seatbelt that I saw. Of course, I was busy being sick.

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