On August 23, 2004, a 22-year-old male career fire fighter/emergency medical technician (the victim) died after the ambulance in which he was riding crashed into a tree. The ambulance, with a patient on board, had proceeded through an intersection with lights and siren activated when the driver lost control after losing traction on a wet road. The victim, who was belted into the captain's chair in the patient compartment, died on impact and was pronounced dead on scene. A paramedic who was also sitting in the rear of the ambulance was ejected and sustained serious injuries. He was transported to a local hospital via ambulance. NIOSH investigators concluded that to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments and emergency medical services should: 1. replace worn tires as part of the apparatus maintenance program; 2. ensure that drivers operate emergency vehicles at speeds appropriate for the road conditions to prevent hydroplaning and loss of vehicle control; and, 3. ensure that drivers receive driver training at least twice a year. In addition, ambulance manufacturers, researchers and standard setting bodies should continue to improve vehicle safety standards and designs for increased crash worthiness of ambulance patient compartments for occupant survivability.
Region-4; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Emergency-responders; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Accident-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Protective-equipment; Safety-equipment; Motor-vehicles; Safety-belts; Personal-protective-equipment; Safety-education; Training; Paramedical-services; Surveillance