EMS Insider, Legislative Update

Update on NFPA 1917, 2018 Edition Technical Committee on Ambulances

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee1 on Ambulances, the technical committee responsible for NFPA 1917, is pleased to provide this synopsis of the work in progress on the 2018 edition so that the EMS community can have all the necessary input to the standards process. NFPA 1917 addresses the way that new ambulances are constructed and tested to provide improved safety for the patient, EMS providers and the public.

All EMS personnel should be familiar with NFPA 1917, which is recognized as an authoritative standard for ambulance construction and safety testing. NFPA 1917 does not address patient care or what EMS equipment is needed.

Work toward the 2018 edition of NFPA 1917 is underway. This article briefly explains the revision process, including key dates for public input.

The NFPA is a standards developing organization (SDO). In the U.S., the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates the voluntary standardization system and accredits SDOs.2 ANSI ensures that in producing industry standards, the SDOs conform to consensus procedures. These procedures provide a fair and open system based on due process. These due process rules protect the rights and interests of everyone who participates in the development of an industry standard, either as a member of the consensus body or through public input or comment.2

NFPA 1917 is the only industry standard approved by ANSI involving ambulance construction and testing. The NFPA 1917 revision process conforms to the ANSI regulated due process rules. This recognition means that, unlike most books published by one or more authors, the revisions to NFPA 1917 are open for public input and comment, and proposed revisions are decided by consensus.

The NFPA 1917 Technical Committee is composed of 33 members representing a wide range of EMS providers, ambulance manufacturers, government enforcement agencies, insurance companies, legal experts, ambulance testing companies and subject matter experts.3

The NFPA revision process involves an open public input period. The committee addresses each and every input through subcommittee work, full committee discussion, and then a vote on whether to include, include with changes, or reject the input. Thereafter, the committee issues a First Draft Report. The first draft is produced in legislative format with proposed additions underlined and deletions in strikeout font making it easy to see how the proposed revisions will look. Statements containing the committee’s reasoning for each change, including its response to public inputs and rationale for committee inputs, are also available for review.

The committee next seeks public comments on the first draft. This process provides another opportunity for the public to comment on what is proposed or why something should be included that has been eliminated. No new material can be added. The subcommittees and then the full committee repeat the process to review the public comments and vote accordingly on each comment. The second draft will be issued following the finalization of the ballot on second revisions.

The opportunity to raise an objection to a section of the second draft can be initiated by members of the public only through a Notice of Intent to Make Amending Motion (NITMAM).4 NITMAMs can only be submitted by those individuals who have participated in the revision process through public input or comment. At the annual meeting, the NITMAM will be presented to the membership for discussion and a vote. If no NITMAMs are submitted, the second draft is docketed on the Consent Calendar for the adoption by the NFPA Standards Council.4

As you can see, the NFPA process is open and fair. EMS providers have an excellent opportunity to have direct input to the construction of ambulances so as to provide increased safety for our patients and providers. We all must strive to reduce injuries and fatalities to EMS providers and patients, as well as to the general public, related to ambulance crashes.

EMS providers and members of the public—anyone who has an interest in NFPA 1917—may participate further in the development of the new edition, or simply track these developments. Below are the next steps and deadlines that occur from now through the NFPA Annual Meeting in 2018:

  1. The closing date for public input is June 29, 2016.
  2. The 1917 committee will hold its meeting on or before Dec. 7, 2016. The committee will then be balloted on the changes decided in that meeting.
  3. The first draft will be posted for public comment on or about March 1, 2017.
  4. The public comment period on the first draft closes on or about May 10, 2017.
  5. The committee will meet no later than Nov. 8, 2017 to take action on the public comments.
  6. The second draft report should be issued on or about Jan. 24, 2018.
  7. Thereafter, NITMAMs can be submitted with a closing date of Feb. 21, 2018.
  8. The NFPA Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 4–7, 2018. At this meeting, all NITMAMs will be scheduled for a vote.
  9. The closing date for appeals is June 27, 2018.
  10. The Third Edition of NFPA 1917 is tentatively scheduled to become effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Anyone who would like to either participate or track developments toward the next edition of NFPA 1917 should note the above dates. NFPA 1917 document information pages can be accessed at http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/document-information-pages?mode=code&code=1917. Further information on the NFPA process can be found on the NFPA website.

 

REFERENCES

1. International Association of Arson Investigators. (Oct. 2015) NFPA process. Fire & Arson Investigator. 66(2):43.

2. ANSI. (n.d.) Frequently asked questions. Retrieved on March 15, 2016, from http://www.ansi.org/about_ansi/faqs/faqs.aspx?menuid=1.

3. NFPA (n.d.) NFPA 1917: Standard for automotive ambulances. Retrieved on March 15, 2016, from http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/document-information-pages?mode=code&code=1917.

4. Anyone who submits a public input or public comment and is not satisfied with the work of the NFPA 1917 TC concerning that public input or public comment can explore their further due process rights by reviewing the NFPA rules.