Protecting medics in the backs of ambulances is a big concern among ambulance manufacturers and emergency medical services (EMS) providers.
Along with the design of the interiors of modules, safety measures also involve various seating options made available to ambulance makers by specialized seating manufacturers as well as those seats that are crafted by the rig manufacturers.
UNITED SAFETY & SURVIVABILITY CORPORATION
Jason Witmier, director of Valor Seats for United Safety & Survivability Corporation, says the company makes the Valor EMT Seat with a heavy-duty steel frame covered in vacuum-formed vinyl, R-back with integrated headrest, adjustable back recline with dual discontinuous gears, four-point four-retractor seat belt with fully extendable harness, and easy-click belt release on a six-inch horizontal slide for fore and aft adjustment. “Our Integrated Child Seat (ICS) is built into the back of the EMT seat,” Witmier says. “What sets us apart are the overall strength and durability of our seats; we focused on the frame and a strong foundation in its design.”
1 United Safety & Survivability Corporation makes the Valor EMT Seat with a heavy-duty steel frame and covered in vacuum-formed vinyl with an R-back integrated headrest and four-point four-retractor seat belt, shown here on United Safety’s Mobility Track system. (Photo courtesy of United Safety & Survivability Corporation.)
Witmier notes that United Safety also makes the Valor EMT Squad Bench Back that is designed to mount directly to the vehicle’s interior sidewall above the squad bench. “It has a four-point, four-retractor internal mount belt system and has a heavy-duty frame with a reinforced side bolster and rear crumple zone back metal,” he says. United Safety also makes the EMT LayFlat Seat with similar features to the Valor EMT Seat but with the ability to lay flat to allow an additional cot in the module. USSC’s Mobility Track system can be installed to allow 36-, 48-, or 72-inch fore and aft movement of the Valor EMT Seat.
REV AMBULANCE GROUP
Lance Randolph, vice president and general manager of Horton Emergency Vehicles, says Horton and all other REV Ambulance Group brands are now using the Performax harness system made by IMMI. “It’s a four-point, four-retractor harness with a decelerator and a single buckle,” Randolph points out. “It’s important to keep the medic buckled into a harness in the back of the ambulance in order to ride safely.”
2 Horton Emergency Vehicles use the Performax harness system made by IMMI, a four-point, four-retractor harness with a decelerator and a single buckle. (Photo courtesy of Horton Emergency Vehicles.)
Randolph notes that Horton often puts a swivel-and-slide seat with a Performax four-point harness on the curb side of the patient module in place of the squad bench. “We’ll also put in overhead cabinets that the medic can get to while belted in and sometimes a Ferno iNTRAXX system of hanging pouches and equipment so that everything is close at hand for the medic while treating the patient on the way from the scene.”
PL CUSTOM BODY AND EQUIPMENT COMPANY
Chad Newsome, national sales manager for PL Custom Body and Equipment Company Inc., says his company has always focused on building the safest, strongest ambulance body possible to protect both patients and medics. “We’ll use three-, four-, five-, and six-point harnesses made by EVS, USSC Valor, and IMMI in their seats,” Newsome says, “and put them in our Medic in Mind design patient module where we use rounded edges and radiused corners to eliminate potential strike points. We put in 45-degree angled cabinets to the left and right of the CPR seat and also wherever a cabinet comes near any other seat. With the Medic in Mind design, everything is in reach of the medics’ hands so they don’t have to get up and move around in the back of the ambulance.”
3 PL Custom Body and Equipment Company Inc. built this double squad bench seating arrangement with six-point harnesses surrounded by its Medic in Mind design that uses all rounded corners and 45-degree angled upper cabinets. (Photo courtesy of PL Custom Body and Equipment Company Inc.)
Jason Adair, regional sales manager for Braun Industries Inc., says Braun has been installing a lot of mobility track seating at the head of the cot and at the squad bench position in the ambulances it builds. “Our customers want to keep their medics buckled in all the time,” Adair points out, “and with this system, they can sit at 90 degrees toward the patient and slide fore and aft to work on them. The seat also swivels 360 degrees, and we also are seeing the swivel/slide seat on the street side CPR seat in some instances.”
4 Braun Industries built this ambulance’s squad bench area with double squad bench backs made by United Safety & Survivability Corporation. (Photo courtesy of Braun Industries Inc.)
Adair notes that on critical care transport and neonatal transport ambulances, Braun is installing captain’s chair style seating made by United Safety and EVS on sliding and swiveling tracks. “The most popular seat we are using is the [United Safety] seat with it’s one click harness option for belting in,” he says. “The second most common seat is one made by EVS.” Adair adds that a year or so ago, there seemed to be a big move toward a single mobility seat on the curb side of patient modules, but these days, Braun is still installing squad benches on that side of the box in about 60 percent of its ambulances.
LIFE LINE EMERGENCY VEHICLES
Lonny Moore, engineering manager for Life Line Emergency Vehicles, agrees that fire and EMS departments are making a big effort toward keeping their medics seated and belted in the patient module while doing their work. “We have been using [United Safety] Valor and EVS attendant seats in the ambulances we are building, depending on the customer’s preference,” Moore points out. “We also have developed our own ergonomic back rest seat for our four-point harness seating system that we are using on CPR seats and on the squad bench seating.”
5 Life Line Emergency Vehicles built this triple seating squad bench area with its own ergonomic back rest seat and four-point harness system. (Photo courtesy of Life Line Emergency Vehicles.)
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.