Improving Emergency Medical Service Response to Motor Vehicle Crashes in American Indian Reservations

Principal Investigator(s):

Kathryn Quick, Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project summary:

The focus of this exploratory study is emergency medical response (EMS) for motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) in American Indian reservations and communities, where an average of 656 MVC fatalities occur each year. We conducted a national survey of tribal governments, first responders, and others with strategic perspectives on the quality, strengths, and needs of EMS response in these areas. We summarize the input of 189 study participants about the severity of MVC issues, the quality of EMS response, and factors contributing to the effectiveness of the EMS system in their area. In the EMS response chain, respondents express the strongest concern over dispatch. More than half of respondents report the time to transfer MVC victims to a trauma center usually exceeds the "golden hour" that is critical for trauma injury victims, with concerns being particularly acute in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Only 36 percent of respondents reported that the EMS agencies serving the American Indian reservations and community areas where they work have interagency agreements in-place to facilitate coordinated EMS response. Across all questions, study respondents with tribal government affiliation were consistently more optimistic regarding EMS response to MVCs in reservations than respondents without such affiliation with tribal governments. Based on this exploratory study, we present six recommendations about research questions and methods for additional research.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2018059
  • Start date: 02/2018
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety