Time saved with the use of emergency warning lights and siren while responding to requests for emergency medical aid in a rural environment

Jeffrey Ho, Mark Lindquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective. To determine whether the use of warning lights and siren saves a significant amount of time for ambulances responding to requests for emergency medical aid in a rural emergency medical services (EMS) setting. Methods. A prospective design was used to determine run times for ambulances responding to calls with lights and siren (code 3) and for a similarly equipped "chase" ambulance traveling to the same destination via the same route without lights and siren, while obeying all traffic laws (code 2) within a rural setting. Data were collected for run time intervals, distance traveled, visibility, road surface conditions, time of day, and day of the week. Descriptive statistics, a paired Student's t-test, and analysis of variance were used to test for significant differences between code 2 and code 3 operations, as well as the other variables listed above. Results. Sixty-seven runs were timed during a 21-month period. The average code 3 response interval was 8.51 minutes. The average code 2 response interval was 12.14 minutes. The 3.63 minutes saved on average represents significant time savings of 30.9% (p < 0.01). Shorter runs had higher time savings per mile than the longer runs. Run distance was the only variable that was statistically significant in affecting time saved during a code 3 response. Conclusion. Code 3 operation by EMS personnel in a rural EMS setting saved significant time over code 2 operation when traveling to a call.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

Keywords

  • Ambulances
  • Emergency medical services
  • Lights and siren
  • Rural
  • Time savings

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