Use of a limited lights and siren protocol in the prehospital setting vs standard usage

Mark A. Merlin, Kimberly T. Baldino, David P. Lehrfeld, Matt Linger, Eliyahu Lustiger, Anthony Cascio, Pamela Ohman-Strickland, Frank Dossantos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Our objective was to determine if implementing a standard lights and sirens (L&S) protocol would reduce their use and if this had any effect on patient disposition. Methods: In a prospective cohort study, we trained emergency medical services (EMS) personnel from 4 towns in an L&S protocol and enrolled control personnel from 4 addition towns that were not using the protocol. We compare the use of L&S between them over a 6-month period. Our protocol restricted the usage of L&S to patients who had maladies requiring expedited transport. Emergency medical services personnel from the control towns had no such restrictions and were not aware that we were tracking their usage of L&S. We also considered if patient disposition was affected by the judicious usage of L&S. Results: Prehospital EMS personnel who were trained in an L&S protocol were 5.6 times less likely to use L&S when compared with those not trained. Of the 808 patients transported by both types of workers, no difference in patient disposition was observed. Conclusions: Our protocol significantly reduced the use of L&S. Judicious use of L&S has significant implications for transport safety. By allowing for selective transport with L&S usage, we observed no impact in patient disposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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