NFPA is firmly committed to maximizing the safety of EMS providers at all times, including when they ride in ambulances. This point was powerfully reinforced in a NIST article, which highlights that the latest guidelines for ambulance patient compartments have been incorporated into the 2016 edition of NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances, which went into effect on September 7, 2015.
These patient compartment guidelines were developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its two federal partners, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The guidelines detail safety, efficiency and ergonomic improvements for patient compartment configuration.
“For the first time, we now have a voluntary consensus standard that includes testing and performance requirements from a crash perspective,” says Jennifer Marshall, homeland security program manager in NIST’s Special Programs Office.
As the roles of first responders have increasingly expanded, NFPA is well-versed in addressing the needs of the entire first responder community, whether they’re responding to an incident via fire apparatus or ambulance. The combination of extensive public input and comment, along with a balanced technical committee that has a tremendous breadth and depth of knowledge, experience and expertise, ensures that NFPA standards deliver the highest level of safety to all first responders, including EMS providers.
I applaud NIST, DHS S&T, and NIOSH for developing these important guidelines to ensure that research-based guidelines, where appropriate, become an integral part of standards like NFPA 1917, which directly impact EMS providers’ safety and ensure that all of our nation’s first responders - and those they care for - are a safe as possible.