Better Safety Standards in EMS

I think we need to establish a
new standards group for introducing safety standards into the EMS field. The existing standards groups have a limited understanding about safety issues in EMS. I don’t believe that NFPA has developed useful standards that have brought much value to EMS providers.

I’ve been working for about a year on a new EMS Coat. I got
tired of over-priced, over-engineered raincoats that don’t hold up. They offer
little resistance to abrasion, tears, punctures, and no impact protection at
all. That’s why we went a totally different direction. I looked back at the
things that have happened to me during my 30 years of EMS. Then I designed a
new coat that could take this kind of abuse. After I got the first prototype, we took it to EMS providers and listened to what they did and did not like about it. We took their ideas, and then made the changes people wanted.

need a high-visibility coat that has protective armor padding, and is very resistant to tears
and abrasion. We need a garment that will hold up crawling around in the muck
and mire of real ambulance calls. So that’s what I did, basically crossing a
Trauma Bag with a Motocross Armored Jacket. More on that project very soon. But
what standards should we design the coats performance around? Should we pay thousands
that gets passed on to customers, to comply with various standards including some that don’t make any

years now we have been buying coats to meet standards that provide no real
protective value to the wearer. For example, the ridiculous NFPA blood borne
pathogen standard. Can anybody cite me even one actual case of a Medic or EMT
that ever caught a communicable disease transmitted by blood that went through
a coat? Can anybody give me even one piece of scientific data that shows this
NFPA standard has reduced any actual risks?  I seriously doubt it, but eagerly
await hearing about it. What this standard did do is nearly double the price of a
decent EMS coat. Now they cost around 250$, a pretty steep price for a 10$ an
hour EMT to pay.

Does anybody really think it’s worth another hundred bucks per coat to certify that it reduces a non-existent risk?


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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