Project Researcher at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Advanced Level Paramedic at Kymsote - Kymenlaakso Social and Health Services, Doctoral Candidate at University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Finland. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Paramedics face several safety risks in their occupation, and crashes during emergency response driving (ERD) are quite common. However, there is a need for more research to develop educational and implementation suggestions to determine how these risks can be reduced and managed. In this study, we examined what risk factors Finnish paramedics recognize when performing ERD.
The study material consisted of 161 pages of material that had been written by experienced paramedics (n?=?44) who were master's degree students of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences in fall 2017. They wrote essays based solely on their own thoughts and experiences regarding the risk factors associated with ERD. The material was analyzed via inductive content analysis.
Two main categories were found: Crew-related risk factors and environmental risk factors. These categories could be further divided into eight sub-categories. The crew-related risk factors consisted of lack of education and training for ERD, insufficient concentration on driving, irresponsibility and indifference, crew member's inability to take collective responsibility for safety as a team, and excessive load experienced by the driver. Environmental risk factors consisted of demanding handling of ambulance, poor visibility, and other road users.
Finnish paramedics recognized several risk factors in ERD. Some of the factors have been noted in previous literature regarding ambulance crashes and should be addressed as a matter of urgency to improve safety. Overall, better knowledge regarding these risks needs to be developed worldwide. The results led to several further study suggestions.