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A Study on Safety: Highlights from Workshop on Ambulance Patient Compartments



Jennifer L. Marshall, Yung-Tsun T. Lee


In 2010, there were more than 250 U.S. ambulance crashes that were reported in the news media [Ballam 2011]. During such accidents, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who ride in the ambulance patient compartment while caring for patients are at high risk of suffering injuries. Restraint systems are the first line of defense against injuries or death; however, using restraints makes it difficult to access equipment and supplies and to treat the patients. An ideal patient compartment layout facilitates efficient clinical care and ensures the safety of both patients and EMTs. Such patient compartment layout should be based on needs and requirements addressed by the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community and ambulance manufacturing community. This paper describes the workshop, Design Requirements for Ambulance Patient Compartments, held on February 29, 2012 during the JEMS Conference & Exposition 2012 of EMS Today. The workshop was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and conducted by the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST). The purpose of the workshop was to identify gaps in current practice, establish consensus on technical issues related to ambulance design, and review and prioritize design needs and requirements. The workshop results will lead to a long-term goal that is to identify key requirements to recommend for the next release of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1917 Standard of Automotive Ambulances.
Journal of Emergency Medical Services


ambulance, EMS, EMT, NFPA 1917, design standard, JEMS, National Fire Protection Association, seating, restraints, communication, patient compartment, safety, requirements, NAEMT, NASEMSO, IAEMSC, IAFF, DHS, NIST, NIOSH


Marshall, J. and Lee, Y. (2012), A Study on Safety: Highlights from Workshop on Ambulance Patient Compartments, Journal of Emergency Medical Services, [online], (Accessed July 13, 2024)


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Created October 31, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017