New seat belts designed to keep first responders, patients safe in ambulance crashes
CHICAGO (August 30, 2018) – A new seat belt designed to keep EMTs and Paramedics safe in the event of an ambulance crash will be rolled out this week, according to ABC News.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates nearly 4,500 ambulance accidents occur every year on the nation’s roads. In 84% of those crashes, the EMTs and paramedics inside were not wearing a seat belt.
Many first responders say they often have to decide between providing adequate care to their patients and staying buckled. Safety experts say this leaves a lot of opportunity for things to go terribly and dangerously wrong.
But Imma, a company that manufactures seat belts used in ambulances, say they have developed a new restraint that could save lives. Their “Controlled Decelerator Technology” allows seatbelts to slightly extend so first responders can learn forward and remain buckled while working on their patients. It also provides more give, which lessens the impact on the body in the event of an accident.
ABC News showed side-by-side comparisons of the inside of an ambulance during a crash. In one crash test, the dummies were secured, in the other, they were not wearing a seatbelt. The video highlights just how important it is for EMTs and paramedics to buckle up for their own safety and the safety of their patients.
Laws vary from state to state on whether emergency personnel are required to have seatbelts on. Here in Illinois, they aren’t required to wear a seatbelt if they are delivering life saving measures. But Imma is hopeful their new technology will make it easier for EMTs to be safe and do their jobs.