Medic's Work Environment During Rural Emergency Response - UTC

Primary Investigator Contact Information

Laura Stanley

External Project Contact(s)

Robin Kline
  • USDOT/Research and Innovative Technologies Administration, Office of Research, Development, & Technology
  • 400 Seventh Street Southwest Room 2440
  • , Washington DC 20590-0001
  • 202-366-2372
  • robin.kline@dot.gov


  1. Safety Evaluation of a Medic's Work Environment During Rural Emergency Response
    1. Jessica Anne Mueller
    2. 4W2879_Final_Report.pdf

Project Objective

The principal purpose of this project is to observe activities and behaviors exhibited by emergency medical personnel along with the conditions that they are subjected to during emergency vehicle use.

Project Abstract

Every year, approximately 6,500 ambulance collisions occur that injure an estimated ten people per day, and result in two fatalities per week. Injured parties include emergency medical service (EMS) personnel, non-EMS affiliated ambulance occupants, and other persons involved in the incident, such as pedestrians, other vehicle occupants, etc. EMS personnel maintain an occupational fatality rate almost five times higher than the general public, and similar fatality rates to other emergency-response workers. Nearly all on-the-job EMS fatalities are due to vehicle accidents. Compared to other emergency services, ambulance occupants are more likely to be injured and killed than occupants of fire or police service vehicles. The naturalistic data collected in this study will allow researchers to perform analysis in a rural emergency driving environment to identify contributing factors to critical driving events, contributing factors to attending medic behavior, and severity of biomechanical forces experienced in the driver and patient compartment. Based upon research findings, the project will include development of a series of environmental, ergonomic, policy, or training recommendations to mitigate circumstances that cause potentially unsafe operations in the driver’s and patient’s compartment of the ambulance.

Task Descriptions

  1. Identify procedures or common actions that impose physical hardships on medics
    1. Data regarding physically demanding tasks will be collected through objective methods (e.g. video analysis) and subjective methods (e.g. questionnaires). This data will be compared to NIOSH guidelines and assessed through ergonomic and biomechanical assessments (e.g. Rapid Entire Body Assessment, vibration exposure).
  2. Identify equipment or procedures that result in unrestrained medics
    1. Activity in the patient compartment will be visually analyzed and patient records will be examined to verify visual findings regarding medic actions.
  3. Determine the type of patients (by illness or medic activity response) that result in unrestrained medics
    1. Patient records and visual data will be analyzed to record condition and responsive action taken by medics, along with the medic’s state of restraint. Video analysis will determine if this response required the medic to be unrestrained.
  4. Determine the rate of restraint use by the ambulance driver as well as medics in the patient compartment while the ambulance is operating in emergency mode compared to non-emergency modality
    1. Visual driver and patient compartment data will be analyzed to observe rate of belt use. On board computer information and audio data will indicate whether or not the ambulance is operating in emergency mode.

Milestones, Dates, Schedule

Start Date:8/1/2009
End Date:9/30/2010
Extended Date:12/31/2011

Student Involvement


Relationship to Other Research Projects


Technology Transfer Activities


Transportation Research Board Keywords

driver behavior, emergency medical service (EMS), transportation safety


Critical Illness and Trauma Foundation, American Medical Response