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WWW.JEMS.COM OCTOBER 2017 | JEMS 37
consequences of ignoring these dangers are
predictable and, likely, preventable. It’s time
to focus on all aspects of the ambulance environment and embrace the changes necessary
to advance safety in our industry.
We must continue to raise awareness of
the inherent dangers of our job and put our
history and tradition aside to improve safety.
Our loss of life is a quiet epidemic and the
personal toll on families is enormous. The
costs of addressing safety issues are small in
comparison to the huge burden we’ll carry if
we maintain the status quo.
The efforts to improve ambulance design
and safety have started, but there’s a lot of
work ahead of us. Multidisciplinary teams
of healthcare professionals, safety engineers,
regulatory bodies and ambulance manufacturers have begun to provide our industry
with the research and data we need to be
The real question is, will our culture allow us
to change or will it be a barrier to our progress?
Let’s improve safety for our EMS providers
and our patients. Safer practices save lives,
time and money. JEMS
Wayne M. Zygowicz, MS, EFO, CFO, EMT-P, is a 36-year veteran of the fire service and has served as a paramedic/firefighter for over 30 years. Wayne has served as a division chief
for Littleton (Colo.) Fire Rescue for the last 20 years. He holds
a master’s degree in executive leadership, is a graduate of
the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program
(EFO) and is a Certified Fire Officer (CFO) through the Center
for Public Safety Excellence.
Learn more from Wayne Zygowicz at
the EMS Today Conference, Feb. 21–23,
in Charlotte, N.C. EMS Today.com
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2007.) U.S. General Services Administration. Retrieved June 1, 2017,
2. Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services. (March
28, 2016.) Ground vehicle standards for ambulances. Ground
VehicleStandard.Re trieved June 10, 2017, from www.
CAAS_GVS_v_ 1_0_ FinalwDates.pdf.
3. NFPA 1917: Standard for automotive ambulances. (2016.)
National Fire Protection Agency. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from
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Security. Retrieved May 15, 2017, from www.naemt.org/docs/
5. Hildwine F. Take a seat: New ambulance seating improves
safety, size & functionality. JEMS. 2016; 41( 10) 38–42.
6. Zygowicz WM. Lights and sirens: Improving the safety of the
sights & sounds of EMS. JEMS. 2016; 41( 19): 30–36.
7. Emergency vehicle safety initiative. (February 2014.) United
States Fire Administration. Retrieved Jun. 10, 2017, from
8. Emergency vehicle visibility and conspicuity study. (August
2009.) United States Fire Administration. Retrieved Jun.
10, 2017, from www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/