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NHTSA Officials Discuss Federal EMS Initiatives at EMS Today 2015

Investigating ambulance crashes and crash statistics are critical to creating a safer environment for patients and EMS providers, representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of EMS said during their update on federal EMS initiatives. Drew Dawson, director of the Office of EMS, was joined by other staff members as they updated the audience on many of the other critical projects currently underway at the federal level.

In collaboration with partners both within NHTSA and other federal entities, the Office of EMS is leading the effort to make ground ambulances safer. Current work includes examining data on ambulance crashes and analyzing information from in depth investigation of crashes. Early analysis of the data shows that both low utilization of seatbelts among EMS providers and lack of shoulder restraints for patients increased the risk of injuries in serious crashes.

In addition to the research on crash data, the NHTSA Office of EMS will also be conducting a study to examine ambulance driver training and regulatory requirements across the United States, at both state and local levels.

At the session, other topics covered by NHTSA officials included the transition of military veterans with medical experience to civilian practice, a joint effort of NHTSA and the Department of Defense and other partners, such as the National Registry of EMTS and the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO). With so many highly trained medics and corpsman leaving military service each year, NHTSA and its partners hope to find ways to make it easier for them to put past experience and education to work as EMS providers.

Finally, the team discussed another federal initiative that will help improve the consistency of the quality of service and patient care provided by EMS providers across the nation. The national strategy to promote evidence-based guidelines, a cooperative agreement between NHTSA and the National Association of EMS Physicians, is building on recent efforts that led to the publication of the first national prehospital clinical guidelines last year. This project will continue developing a system for researching, writing  and evaluating more evidence-based guidelines for pre-hospital care in the future.

More information on these projects and many more is available at www.EMS.gov.