EMS workers riding in the back of ambulances are at high risk of suffering injuries during a crash or a maneuver to avoid a crash if they're not using restraints. However, restraints make it difficult to access and treat patients while in route to a hospital. To meet the challenge of finding a balance between these two demands, NIST, the's Human Factors and Behavioral Sciences Division and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health are developing design guidelines for ambulance patient compartments that maximize safety without compromising effectiveness.
These guidelines will be used to update current, and enhance emerging, ambulance design criteria, such as NFPA 1917.
To gather input for the guidelines, the three agencies are conducting an anonymous Web survey through Dec. 28. Insight and opinions from this survey will supplement data previously gathered from focus groups, interviews with individual EMS workers, visits to equipment manufacturers and EMS stations, and "ride-along" experiences aboard on-duty ambulances.