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Action Training Systems’ “Emergency Vehicle Operations” series can help first responders reduce their risk by providing training resources instructors need to enhance their curriculum and engage their students.

The Bad News About EVO

Emergency vehicle operations pose a real hazard to fire and EMS vehicle operators and the statistics are staggering. Recent estimates find that first responders experience traffic-related fatalities 2.5 to 4.8 times greater than the national average.

One study found that the risk factors could be categorized into four major groups: driver-related, task-related, vehicle-related, and environment-related. Each of these groups included more specific risk factors ranging from driver experience and driver distraction to vehicle type, weather, or road-related factors.

image from Action Training Systems Emergency Vehicle Operations series

Predictors of Risk

For the general public there are specific known risk factors that contribute to their crashes, the most common are age and gender. However, for emergency vehicle operators (EVOs) it is completely different.

Predictors for EVOs are those with aggressive driving behavior and those that have been involved in previous crashes. Often it’s a small percentage of personnel within an agency that will have the largest involvement in vehicle collisions.


Good News!Action Training Systems EVO series, skills practice

Now the good news! Risk can be reduced by developing a solid training program and applying the principles of risk assessment. Current research identified two interventions that are successful in reducing the number of emergency vehicle crashes.


Risk Reduction: Part 1

The first intervention for EVO risk reduction is providing personnel with a comprehensive and robust driver training program immediately after being hired and every 3 years thereafter (or according to your SOGs). Your EVO course should include classroom lectures with reviews of laws, regulations, and agency SOPs, as well as field training to practice vehicle maneuvers and required demonstrated competency on the vehicles each member will be operating.


image from Action Training Systems EVO seriesThe other part of your EVO training program should include an annual refresher training with a review of policies, procedures, and hands-on skills evaluations yearly. This allows you to reinforce safe driving practices and identify any bad habits your members may have developed.


Risk Reduction: Part 2image from Action Training Systems EVO series

The second intervention for EVO risk reduction is to create a systematic process of assessing the causes of crashes or near-misses that occur in your agency. From these evaluations, you can identify procedures that may need updating and/or create response policies to help reduce risk. This will provide keen awareness and hopefully prevent the reoccurrence of a similar incident.


Action Training Systems 2023 product catalog

Action Training Systems Provides EVO Training Solutions

More good news! Action Training Systems’ has released a 4-title Emergency Vehicle Operations series that can enhance and elevate your EVO curriculum. Included in this series are engaging video presentations, Facilitator Guides with lesson outlines, skills suggestions, discussion questions, and testing, there are customizable PowerPoints© and Online Interactive Courses that have proven to increase the retention of information. These titles are also great companions to popular industry textbooks and are available on DVD, USB drive, online Streaming Video, or as online Interactive Courses. The following are some ways you can use these products.


Train for Competency. Train for Safety. Train for Results.Action Training Systems Emergency Vehicle Operations Series

You can use Action Training Systems’ different instructional tools and even customize your training outlines and PowerPoints©. You can assign the videos as pre-course work for students prior to classroom lectures or their hands-on training, or to make up for missed classroom lectures. You can provide tests and quizzes for ISO compliance, or use the Online Interactive Courses for independent learning or refresher.

For more information about the Emergency Vehicle Operations series call: 800-755-1440 or visit our website.


EVO Crash Statistics

A report released by the NHTSA showed that:

  • There are an estimated 6,500 accidents involving ambulances each year.
  • 35% of crashes resulted in injury or fatality to at least 1 occupant of a vehicle involved.
  • When injuries occur, there are, on average, three unique injuries per accident.
  • On average, 29 fatal ambulance accidents produce 33 fatalities each year.
  • 2,600 people are injured in 1,500 ambulance accidents each year.
  • Nearly 60% of ambulance accidents occur during the course of emergency use.


Bui DP, Griffin SC, French DD et al. (2019). The use of proactive risk management to reduce emergency service vehicle crashes among firefighters. Journal of Safety Research. 71:103–109.

Hsiao H, Chang J, and Simeonov P. (2018). Preventing Emergency Vehicle Crashes: Status and Challenges of Human Factors Issues. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. 60(7):1048–1072.

Fahy RF, Petrillo JT, and Molis JL. (2020). Firefighter fatalities in the US – 2019. Quincy, MA: NFPA.