Emergency drivers need training
When we have safety emergencies, or disaster strikes, we are taught to dial 911 for help. The time of night, weather conditions or the situation that requires the emergency response does not matter. We call that number fully expecting to be immediately met by professionals who are able to assist us, no matter the problem or the driving conditions. But consider what would happen if the emergency vehicle slid off the road or hit another car while en route to us. Emergency drivers are not born knowing handle a vehicle running at top speeds on icy roads. They must have solid training to learn the skills they need.
With every 911 call received, someone must drive an emergency vehicle. It is the mode which gets EMTs (emergency medical technicians), fire service and police to your location to help you, yet driving errors are the number one reason for lawsuits involving EMTs and emergency response services (especially police). Strangely, it is the skill with the least amount of training required for EMT and other emergency services. Any person who is employed as an emergency medical technician, police officer or fireman could also be a driver of an emergency response vehicle. It is of utmost importance that anyone planning a career in any of these fields demonstrate exemplary driving habits. If you have tickets or an arrest record for reckless driving, this could result in loss of your job or denial of employment in the first place, even if all your other skills are above average.
Transporting a patient to the hospital is as important as the techniques performed that save a patient’s life. Fire service vehicles cannot put out fires and save people from burning buildings if they are not trained to navigate traffic conditions to quickly arrive at the site of the problem. Drivers must understand that the highways and roads are noncultural places of activity, which means that other drivers will do the unexpected when they think no one is watching. This means that an emergency response driver must be trained to deal with drunk drivers, drivers on drugs or medications, and those who display erratic behavior.
Driver training for emergency responders should include the driver’s inspection of his vehicle (for his shift). This includes gas and oil levels and tire pressure. EMTs should check to see that all emergency supplies needed are loaded and that the vehicle is safe and ready for its shift. All drivers must be taught a thorough routine in keeping their vehicle roadworthy, and that the responsibility of this falls on each driver, every shift.
Emergency responders must be taught handle their vehicle in the worst of weather and conditions, such as on icy bridges. They are taught safely come out of a spin in heavy rain when the vehicle hydroplanes or skids on icy patches, and when to use snow chains. They are taught what to do when stuck in snow or mud. They are taught what to do when encountering deer or other large animals suddenly appearing in the road in rural areas or parks. These are all situations that a driver could be confronted with. To experience any of these would require quick thinking (an emergency response) without panic, which is also a skill that a driver must be trained in.
Driving Safety Training
Driver training must include why left-hand turns at busy intersections are the most dangerous. Since more accidents occur where left-hand turns against oncoming traffic are made, drivers must be trained in scan an intersection for signs of danger (such as speeders, bikers or pedestrians) and approach it with caution. Emergency drivers must also be trained in handling road obstructions. Driving on the right side of the road is always required; however, road equipment, wrecked vehicles or a distressed driver stuck on the roadside may cause a temporary detour to the other side, which must be handled with caution. Emergency drivers must learn what to do when the vehicle is in emergency mode (with sirens screaming and lights flashing) and a driver does not pull over to the right to get out of the way. She must also know work with other emergency vehicles which are all navigating traffic at the same time for the same destination.
Emergency driver training means increased safety for our drivers of emergency vehicles. An even bigger benefit is the lives that are saved by safe arrivals of medical technicians at the home of an injured person, and expedient transportation of patients to hospitals. Homes are safer due to police and fire service response time. Fewer accidents also mean fewer lawsuits and less expense overall.