Ambulance Driving Simulator to Improve EMS Safety in Western PA

By: Rick Pietzak and Tim Betler

Every day, Pennsylvania has at least one crash involving an ambulance, according to the Emergency Medical Services Institute (EMSI). UPMC has partnered with EMSI to bring a sophisticated ambulance simulator training system to EMS providers in the region.

The fully loaded console – consisting of lights, sirens, seatbelts and mirrors – allows the operator to experience the feeling of driving an actual ambulance while facing extreme conditions in a simulated environment.

“We can throw scenarios at students that they might not see on a city street or country road, like fires or airplane crashes. We can change time of day. We can add rain, snow or fog,” said Brian S. Shaw, deputy director, EMSI.

EMSI partnered with UPMC and regional EMS providers to purchase the simulator and will make EMS Virtual Drive training available to 135 EMS services throughout the 10-county region.

“UPMC has a long-standing relationship with EMS providers in the region, providing medical direction, support and training,” said Myron Rickens, director of the UPMC Prehospital Care Program. “Through simulation, we can challenge them with events they don’t see every day.

The EMS Virtual Drive is the first training simulator to exclusively serve EMS providers in Western Pennsylvania.