Importance Of Lights And Sirens

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INTRODUCTION At face value, the use of lights and sirens by prehospital emergency medical personnel does not seem to be an area of high-value research or controversy. We are all quite used to seeing emergency vehicles at work on our streets, lights flashing and sirens wailing. Both lights and sirens are, and for a long time have been, standard components of EMS vehicles. They are used both to decrease the time it takes emergency medical personnel to respond to the location of an accident, illness, or injury, as well as the time it takes to transport the patient to a definitive care center. They are also used to keep medical providers safe while on the scene of an incident. In reality, the judicious and safe use of lights and sirens is…show more content…
The most deeply held belief is that using lights and sirens saves time, and that time, in medical emergencies, is of paramount importance. Indeed, we still teach the general public, as well as medical personnel at all levels of training, that "time is muscle/brain." There are expectations of the public that play a role as well, in that if lights and sirens were not employed, then the EMS agency involved was not providing the urgency that a patient or family believes is warranted in their situation. There are also those who would believe that lights and sirens were a part of the attraction of new members to the job, and recruiting would be damaged by any decrease in their usage. The companies that insure EMS agencies played a role as well, believing that the routine use of lights and sirens made EMS vehicle and personnel safer, and their use was required for insurance purposes. If these views were to be questioned, and protocols and attitudes towards the use of lights and sirens changed, then quality research was…show more content…
One paper estimated that there were over 12,000 motor vehicle collisions involving responding or transporting EMS vehicles in the US in the 1980's, and four times that many incidents involving non-EMS vehicles that reacted in some way to an EMS responder vehicle (Clawson 1987, Clawson 1997). Clear cause and effect data is difficult to derive, as each individual crash is associated with a different set of circumstances, including speed, weather, and experience of both the emergency medical vehicle operator and the operator of the other vehicle involved. But the number of EMS-associated accidents is

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