Accidents involving ambulances are nothing new. However, when deaths occur due to accidents involving ambulances, we really ought to re-evaluate our existing protocols. Although uncommon, it is important to initiate preventive measures to ensure this does not happen again.
Dangerous driving speeds may not be important in transporting patients. At most, it will save only a few minutes. Perhaps limiting speed may be necessary in preventing future fatal accidents.
Stabilize patients first
Stabilizing patients before transfer is paramount as usually any further actions on a moving vehicle can be extremely difficult. First aid training and regular refresher courses for the driver and the attendant must be strictly enforced. Skills like the ability to get intravenous access on site can make the difference.
There is a need for better ambulances, especially those that can handle faster maneuvering. There is a trend that accidents often involve ”makeshift” ambulances. The vehicles need to be fitted with the latest safety measures from traction control to airbags. Building an ambulance is an art, not merely putting sirens on a van!
Training drivers in handling ambulances
Driving an ambulance with your adrenaline pumping is a skill that needs to be nurtured and trained. Controlling a vehicle at higher speeds while ensuring your passengers are safe is a required element. Making the right choice in a split second, be it on a highway or in a congested road requires simulation exercises. A wrong decision can be fatal.
For the public, please make way for ambulances by slowing down and moving to the side, not attempting to outpace it. Tailgating an ambulance is also not legal and dangerous. Offenders must face demerit points , with the possibility of losing one’s license.
No one should die in the line of duty. More needs to be done if we are to prevent the next mishap.