By Author(s): Staff 
Published Friday, February 20, 2009
| From the February 2006  Issue of FireRescue 
On Aug. 6, 2003, a 43-year-old career firefighter/EMT died after the ambulance he was driving was struck from behind and pushed into a straight truck. The victim and a lieutenant/paramedic were conducting a non-emergency transport between two hospitals. As the ambulance was traveling through a highway work zone, the ambulance driver slowed down to maneuver around a line-painting crew. A tractor-trailer then struck the rear of the ambulance, pushing it into the straight truck. Although the victim was using the vehicle occupant restraint, the front of the cab sustained such extensive damage that the vehicle occupant was fatally injured. The lieutenant/paramedic and a patient, who had been riding in the ambulance patient compartment, were also injured during the collision.
CAUSE OF DEATH
The death certificate listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma due to a motor vehicle accident.
- State departments of highways and highway construction companies should consider the use of signs and warnings supplemental to those specified by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) when conducting mobile operations (such as line painting).
- Trucking companies should train drivers to maintain safe following distances and to be aware of work zone hazards and slowing traffic.
- Fire departments and emergency medical service (EMS) providers should ensure EMS workers use the patient compartment vehicle occupant restraints whenever possible.
- ÿFire departments and EMS providers should consider using shoulder straps with occupant restraints on patient cots to limit the movement of the patient from the cot during a vehicle crash.
- Ambulance manufacturers, EMS providers and researchers should develop and evaluate occupant protection systems designed to provide crash protection for EMS workers and the mobility necessary to access patients and equipment within ambulance patient compartments.
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