January 17, 2024 – Irving, TX We didn't need emergency warning devices to get where we were going - a motor vehicle crash without serious injuries. We tried to change lanes and were hit from behind, sideswiped, and pushed across the road. We expected people to yield to us, but the bright flashing lights and sirens contributed to distracting the driver of the car as he was trying to get around us. I still to this day believe we wouldn't have gotten crashed if we were driving without the use of the emergency warning devices.
The reality is when lights and sirens are on, the risk of crash increases by over 50%. Weekly, we hear reports of ambulance crashes that impact providers, patients, and the public.
The National EMS Quality Alliance has released Improving Safety in EMS: Reducing the Use of Lights and Siren, a change package with the results, lessons learned, and change strategies developed during the 15-month long Lights and Siren Collaborative. It will assist EMS organization in making incremental improvements to use of lights and siren on a local and systematic basis. "The best practices that have emerged from this project will allow every agency, regardless of service model or size, to more safely and effectively respond to 9-1-1 calls.” says Michael Redlener, the President of the NEMSQA Board of Directors.
"By utilizing less lights and sirens during EMS response and transport, our efforts have shown measurable increases in safety. The EMS community and the general public will surely benefit from the now-proven tactics provided by this partnership,” added Mike Taigman, Improvement Guide with FirstWatch and faculty leading the collaborative.
More about the Collaborative and participating agencies can be found in the change package and on the NEMSQA website.
About the National EMS Quality Alliance
The National EMS Quality Alliance (NEMSQA) is the nation's leader in the development and endorsement of evidence-based quality measures for EMS. Formed in 2019, NEMSQA is an independent non-profit organization comprised of stakeholders from national EMS organizations, federal agencies, EMS system leaders and providers, EMS quality improvement and data experts as well as those who support prehospital care with the goal to improve EMS systems of care, patient outcomes, provider safety and well-being on a national level.