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This is the sled test setup used to measure the patient (ATD’s) excursion and biomechanical properties using a prototype restraint system. This test showed that it was possible to safely reduce occupant excursion from 30 in as seen on current production patient litters to less than 14 in as is now required in the newly published SAE J3027. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

New SAE International standards enhance ambulance safety

With the recent publishing of four technical reports, SAE International now offers a series of recommended practices designed to enhance overall ambulance safety in several areas, including patient compartments and occupant restraint. The four newly published recommended practices include:

• “J3026–Ambulance Patient Compartment Seating Integrity and Occupant Restraint”—This SAE Recommended Practice describes the testing procedures that may be used to evaluate the integrity of ground ambulance-based occupant seating and occupant restraint systems for workers and civilians transported in the patient compartment of an ambulance when exposed to frontal or side impact.

• “J3027–Ambulance Litter Integrity, Retention, and Patient Restraint”—This SAE Recommended Practice describes the testing procedures required to evaluate the integrity of a ground ambulance-based patient litter, litter retention system, and patient restraint when exposed to a frontal or side impact.

• “J3043–Ambulance Equipment Mount Device or Systems”—This SAE Recommended Practice describes the dynamic and static testing procedures required to evaluate the integrity of an equipment mount device or system when exposed to a frontal or side impact.

• “J3044–Occupant Restraint and Equipment Mounting Integrity—Rear Impact System-Level Ambulance Patient Compartment”—This SAE Recommended Practice describes the test procedures for conducting rear impact occupant restraint and equipment mounting integrity tests for ambulance patient compartment applications.

Steve Spata, Technical Services Manager with NTEA, contributed to the new documents. “We are extremely pleased to be able to work with SAE International to create a home for this family of test methods," he said. "These cutting-edge product validations represent the work of a multi-year government-industry partnership to improve the safety of ambulances and save the lives of our nation’s EMS workers and their patients."

Jim Green, who works in the Division of Safety Research for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and also contributed to the documents, echoed the importance of safety: "The development of this family of SAE Recommended Practices exemplifies the value of industry and government combining resources and talent with a singular goal in mind; to improve worker and patient safety in a cost-efficient and timely manner. By publishing through SAE and the Truck Crashworthiness Committee, we tapped into decades of experience that both improved these documents and strategically placed them in a forum that can be easily accessed worldwide."

These recommended practices join two existing ones:

• “J2917–Occupant Restraint and Equipment Mounting Integrity—Frontal Impact System-Level Ambulance Patient Compartment

• “J2956–Occupant Restraint and Equipment Mounting Integrity—Side Impact System-Level Ambulance Patient Compartment.”

All six recommended practices were developed and issued by SAE International’s Truck Crashworthiness Committee in conjunction with NIOSH and the Ambulance Manufacturers Division (AMD) of the NTEA.

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