Ambulances are an essential requirement in any emergency especially as it involves transporting patients who might be critically ill or injured in a timely manner to healthcare facilities or hospitals. Ambulance drivers are a very important part of this process since the safe transport of the patient, paramedics, and other healthcare providers to the required destination. Ambulance drivers may also have responsibilities not limited to driving but also helping patients on or off the ambulance and other duties assigned by the medical facilities. We offers EMS ambulance driver training programs on site or remotely to organizations as required.
With the advancement of technology over the years, ambulances have evolved to become mini hospitals on wheel that can provide important emergency life sustaining while transporting patients to healthcare facilities. Along with this, the responsibilities of an ambulance driver have also increased. Currently many ambulance providers are also trained to be emergency medical technicians (EMT) or paramedics. However, it is important that ambulance drivers are given specialized training as they have to navigate heavy vehicles through various terrains and weather conditions and even busy roads while driving at high speeds while treatment might be given to critically ill patients. Thus, it is very important for medical facilities or other emergency medical service (EMS) providers to invest in a good ambulance driver training program when they hire various EMS and EMT professionals.
According to a study done by the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), around 33 fatalities occur every year due to accidents due to ambulances and other emergency vehicles. Out of the accidents that involve ambulances, about 60% of them occur due to various reasons such as distracted, tired, or poorly trained drivers. Ambulance near misses – defined as a sequence of unplanned events that could have resulted in a loss event or an accident that could include damage to property or even people – are dangerous as they could very easily result in accidents. An average of 300 near misses result in 1 accident. This means there are a lot of near misses that occur every single year that could result in actual loss of life or property. Failure to employ sufficient safety procedures by both the EMS organization as well as the EMS providers and drivers in the ambulance can lead to reckless injury of not just those outside the ambulance but also the patients and EMTs inside the ambulance.
Despite the risks associated with driving ambulances, many organizations even today only look for individuals that have a valid driving license for heavy vehicles, usually greater than 3500kg, and at least a high school diploma or related educational qualification. However, considering the risks associated with ambulance driving and patient transport, it will be worthwhile for organizations to invest in a good driver training program that specializations in ambulance driving also known as defensive driving to reduced accidents that may occur. It is also important to analyze near misses as these would help identify any safety threats, gaps in training, and other concerns that need to be addressed to increase the efficiency and performance of drivers of EMS organizations. This also helps in the long run by reducing the damages to the vehicles and help reduce fleet costs and improve the overall safety management systems of EMS organizations.
There are many benefits to investing in a good EMS ambulance driver training program before deploying drivers on the field as well as refresher courses throughout the years.
- It can result in reduced fatalities due to human errors on the way to the hospital by identifying areas of problem.
- Tracking near misses helps identify various situations that could result in actual loses and train ambulance drivers to avoid them to eliminate or reduce the damages that could occur.
- It helps to identify problematic driving habits and replace them with better practices.
- By providing specialized training that simulates various driving situations such as heavy traffic roads, difficult or uneven terrains, small roads, unfavorable weather conditions, stressful medical situations, and others, will prepare the ambulance drivers in training to be prepared for all situations and drastically reducing accidents and associated risks.
- It helps cultivate good personal checks for the drivers such as not driving while on any medications or extremely tired and ensuring that all distractions are kept away so that they can focus on the road.
- By training drivers in defensive driving, EMS organizations can reduce the number of accidents that can happen with their fleet and increase the trust the public will have with them.
- Providing a good EMS ambulance driving training for all new recruits in an organization can also improve the safety of the drivers themselves and also improve their well-being.
- Drivers that go through a good ambulance driver training program will also be trained in how to access their vehicles and ensure that it is always maintained in good condition. This will reduce any accidents that could occur due to poor vehicle conditions, reduce vehicle maintenance repairs and costs, and can also increase the value of the vehicle in case they are to be traded in later.
- Driver training programs, can reinforce and improve other basic driving lessons such as following traffic laws, driving on highways and intersections, changing lanes, pedestrian rights, parking, and more.
Drivers hired by and EMS providers will have the necessary driving license. However, they may not be fully trained in driving emergency vehicles especially in emergency, high stress situations. By providing a good driver training program organizations can not only improve overall driving standards of their employees but also improve their reputation as being a reliable EMS provider and employee safety at work. Organizations should also provide regular and recurring refreshers courses to their drivers so that they are kept up to date with useful driving safety information and also maintain and improve good defensive driving skills. Heal ME Medical Mobility Solutions, offers EMS ambulance driver training programs on site or remotely to organizations as required. Get in touch with us to learn more about how our ambulance driver training program can help your organization and drivers to provide excellent services to patients and improve overall safety.