Publication Date

Spring 2017

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Public Administration

First Advisor

Natalia Ermasova, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Gaffney, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Harley Schinker, Ph.D.


Current ambulance patient compartment designs have proven dangerous to paramedics during patient transport. Currently, there are no set safety standards for patient compartments of ambulances. This study focused on three fire protection districts: Coal City, Wilmington, and Elwood; each identified that the current ambulance design is very dangerous for paramedics in a crash, particularly concerning usage of seat belts and dangers of the side-facing CPR seat and bench seat. Each fire district addressed these issues with new ambulance designs. The mixed methods research began with observations recorded from riding with paramedics on actual calls on both the old and new ambulances and then conducting follow-up interviews to examine paramedics’ current practices, seat belt usage, and seating preference. The study concluded with a survey asking paramedics about seating preference and seat belt usage on both ambulances. This research revealed that most paramedics understand threats to their personal safety and view safer changes positively. However, along with safer ambulance designs, cultural and attitude changes are necessary as well. Future research should continue to focus on seat and restraint designs that allow paramedics to perform job skills and keep them safe in a collision.