Emergency medical service personnel injury and fatality in the United States
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INTRODUCTION: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel comprise an intricate part of the public safety net in the US. The purpose of this study was to synthesize data sources to understand the major workplace dangers facing EMS providers. METHODS: This study examined four data sources: The BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), Firefighter Fatalities and Statistics from USFA, and the EMS Voluntary Event Notification Tool (E.V.E.N.T.). Characteristics of the most common causes of injury and fatalities were described and compared. RESULTS: SOII reports covered 13 years and 64,780 nonfatal reported cases. CFOI covered 12 years and 149 fatalities. 111 fatalities from the USFA dataset who had been identified as EMS in some manner in their rank between 2003-2016 were inspected. 21 cases where a firefighter died in the course of providing EMS/patient care were also identified and discussed. All events submitted to E.V.E.N.T. were read and categorized. 214 events were identified as near-miss EMS provider injuries and included in the study. CONCLUSION: The biggest mortal threat to private EMS personnel is vehicular incidents. Among firefighters/EMTs Heart Attacks was the most common nature of death. The biggest nonfatal concerns are violence, slips, trips, and falls, and overexertion in addition to vehicular incidents. Most violent events were the result of a patient with a Temporarily Altered Mental Status. There is clearly a need for further research to develop evidence-based methods and policies to reduce injury and death in EMS personnel from an agency level.