EMS Safety Perceptions Vary Widely

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 4 (UPI) — Safety perceptions among U.S. and Canadian emergency medical services agencies vary widely, researchers found.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences say the survey results on emergency medical technician perceptions of safety climate, teamwork, recognition of stress and other aspects of workplace safety may provide a valid tool EMS officials can use to evaluate safety within their agencies.

“The study provides benchmarking data for EMS agencies and a reliable and valid tool that EMS officials can use to evaluate safety within their agencies. We continue to collect data and report on variations through our network of EMS agencies affiliated with the EMS Agency Research Network,” lead author P. Daniel Patterson said in a statement.

The survey of 61 EMS agencies, scheduled to be published in Prehospital Emergency Care, indicated air-medical EMS agencies tended to score higher across all six domains of safety culture than did ground-based agencies.

Most of the EMS agencies participating in the study were private, rural, ground units employing fewer than 50 people. Most respondents were men who were full-time career employees of the agencies.

The mean score on safety climate, one of the domains studied, was highest in agencies with fewer employees, lower annual patient contacts and higher proportions of acute patients.

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