MedStar EMS limits use of lights and siren transport

Press Release

Contact: Matt Zavadsky

(817) 632-0522


The Sound of an Emergency is Getting Quieter

MedStar EMS limits use of lights and siren transport

April 15, 2010  (Fort Worth, Texas) The traditional sound of a medical emergency is getting quieter for some patients of MedStar EMS.  MedStar has stopped transporting cardiac arrest patients using lights and sirens.

“We want to provide the best care we can,” said Matt Zavadsky, MedStar’s associate director for operations. “Traveling in the emergency mode makes it more difficult for crews to perform procedures such as CPR, IVs, and EKGs,” Zavadsky explained. “And our studies have shown that traveling with lights and siren only saves an average of two minutes in travel time to the hospital.”

The sound of the siren often increases the anxiety of the patient and may cause their condition to worsen, said MedStar associate medical director Dr. Jeff Beeson.

“Research has shown that the best chances for surviving a cardiac arrest is effective and uninterrupted chest compressions,” Dr. Beeson explained. “Maintaining effective chest compressions in the back of a moving ambulance is difficult under normal circumstances. Doing them while the ambulance is being operated in emergency mode is even more difficult,” he said.

Transporting “cold” (without lights and siren) in these situations means better care for the patient, Beeson added.

Transporting without lights and siren is also safer for the rest of the traveling public, as well as patients and crews. Seventy-four percent of ambulance crashes involving a MedStar ambulance happened while crews were traveling in emergency mode. Zavadsky said he hopes this change will also help reduce ‘wake effect’ collisions of vehicles moving out of the way of the ambulance.

The American Heart Association says effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival. To encourage greater use of CPR, MedStar will begin offering free CPR classes to the community starting in May. For more information about the classes as well as dates and times, go to MedStar’s web site,

About MedStar

MedStar is the exclusive emergency and non-emergency ambulance service provider to 15 Tarrant County cities including Blue Mound, Burleson, Edgecliff Village, Forest Hill, Fort Worth, Haltom City, Haslet, Lakeside, Lake Worth, River Oaks, Saginaw, Samson Park, Westover Hills, Westworth Village, and White Settlement. Established in 1986, MedStar provides advanced life support ambulance service to 421 square miles and more than 860,000 residents in Tarrant County. MedStar responds to about 100,000 emergency calls a year with a fleet of 47 ambulances.

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