Ambulance 1 is dispatched to a single-car motor vehicle crash, with injuries.
Ambulance 1 arrives on scene a short time later, and finds a car that has overturned several times, with two patients who are both critically injured, and requests a second ambulance, which also arrives fairly quickly.
Patients are packaged and prepared for transport, and ambulance 1 departs the scene with the injured driver at 14:06:31, heading towards the local trauma center non emergency.
The trauma center is 14 miles away from the scene, and the trip consists mainly of a 4-lane divided road with numerous at-grade crossings with traffic lights. The speed limit is 50 miles per hour.
Traffic is average for a weekday at 2 pm.
Ambulance 1 encounters several traffic lights on the way, but experiences no significant delays.
Ambulance 2 departs the scene with the injured passenger at 14:07:12. Ambulance 2 is traveling emergency to the same local trauma center.
Both ambulances radio their reports to the local trauma center, and are assigned trauma rooms, with teams awaiting their arrival.
Less than 1 mile away from the trauma center, Ambulance 1 yields to the right for Ambulance 2, which is still traveling emergency.
Ambulance 2 arrives at the trauma center at 14:22:53.
Ambulance 1 arrives at the trauma center at 14:23:27, while ambulance 2 personnel are unloading their patient.
Ambulance 1 had a cumulative transport time of roughly 17 minutes.
Ambulance 2 had a cumulative transport time of roughly 16 minutes.
Ambulance 2 saved (at most) 2 minutes by traveling with their lights and sirens activated.
Both patients received excellent care in the back of the differing ambulances.
Using the lights and sirens during transport does have it’s indications and contraindications. But those indications are rare.
Driving with lights and sirens does not get you there appreciably faster, and is more dangerous for the driver, the attendant, the patient, and every other driver on the road.
The danger was witnessed first hand by the driver of Ambulance 2, when he witnessed a rear-end collision that was caused by someone who was attempting to yield to the red lights.
Lights don’t save time, and are over-utilized.