We constantly hear about new car features and safety upgrades, about how those new features are supposed to help us avoid crashes and make the car safer when involved in a crash. Some people strictly buy cars based on their safety features and crash test scores, so manufacturers put millions of dollars and thousands of engineering hours into making their cars just a bit more safe than the competition. But what about larger vehicles that we share the road wtih? Fire trucks, ambulances, 18 wheelers, etc. Emergency vehicles are extra susceptible to crashes, as they often don't stop for red lights or stop signs when on the way to an emergency or to the hospital.
Ambulances are an interesting study. They are usually transporting a sick or injured individual along with EMTs performing critical care while in transit, and often, the ambulance itself is involved in a collision. These EMTs are not always seated and belted in order to perform CPR or to bandage wounds, so they are at risk of becoming a projectile during a collision.
These sobering pictures (taken from http://breaking911.com/two-emts-dead-after-ambulance-crash-on-southern-state-parkway-in-ny/) from about a year ago show an ambulance that slammed head on into a stone and concrete wall. The cab of the 1 ton van is almost completely flattened.
Unfortunately, the driver of the ambulance and the patient being transported died on impact, but amazingly an EMT riding the in the back survived. How in the world you say?
Well, emergency vehicle manufacturers are taking vehicle integrity quite seriously.
Check out this video from AEV emergency Vehicles. They are building basically a highly engineered roll cage to attach to the van body. The video also outlines some sobering facts if you have ever had to take a ride in teh back of an ambulance. AEV claims to well exceed Federal regulations, and backs it up with a real world crash test. Pretty cool to see a vehicle other than a sedan involved in a crash test:
Nothing is 100% safe, but its good to know that at least someone is taking he time and effort to build a quality product, which could mean the difference between life and death, when the situation is already critical.