RAA's Little Free Library

RAA Unveils Little Free Library Ambulance

April 13–19 is National Library Week and the Richmond Ambulance Authority has opened its own branch of the “Little Free Library.”

Little Free Libraries are hand-crafted structures that contain constantly changing collections of books donated and shared by people of all ages and backgrounds. Most Little Free Libraries are placed in front yards, parks, gardens and easily accessible locations. The libraries are built to withstand all weather and hold 20–100 books.

Originally designed to look like a one-room school or a “house of books,” the libraries rapidly took on a variety of sizes, shapes, themes and other attributes. The RAA Little Free Library has been constructed and painted in the shape and style of an RAA ambulance, complete with flashing lights as the door to the library is opened.

The Little Free Library program has been in place since 2010 and the creation of the RAA library was the brainchild of paramedic Jennifer Norment. “As a member of the RAA Wellness Committee, I proposed the idea and partnered with RAA System Status Controller, Rebecca Szeles, who suggested that we construct an ambulance box. She volunteered her husband, Richmond police officer and wood worker Steve, to bring the project to life,” says  Norment. Once constructed by Steve Szeles, its electronics were installed by RAA Fleet Manager Dan Fellows. Fellows is also a published fiction writer and one of his books will be the first in the library.

The ambulance box is located at the south entrance of the RAA complex on Hermitage Road. Books are available to all on a “drop-off/pick-up” basis.

Sirens Updating on All Ambulances

In recent years, the Richmond Ambulance Authority has seen a decline in vehicles and pedestrians yielding to the sirens of our ambulances.

Research by Tel Aviv Based Environmental and audio visual scientist Ali Fropol has revealed that the human brain becomes accustomed and is conditioned to new sounds completely over time and after an average 4.1 years that brain has developed an immunity to noise and places sounds and their associated vibrations into the part of the brain that considers the sound as merely background. The requirement to stimulate the cerebrum and particularly the right temporal lobe (the part of the brain that affects hearing) means changing up audible warnings is required to protect both vehicle operator another road users be they on foot or in vehicles1.

To that effect, the Richmond Ambulance Authority has decided to update their sirens for the perception of modern ears. That is why they have chosen common cell phone ring tones, alerts, and vibrations to attract the attention of both pedestrians and drivers.

“Studies have shown that when a cell phone, or other digital alert, goes off, people stop what they are doing and look around,” says Chief Operating Officer Rob Lawrence. “When they look around, we hope that they will see the flashing lights and yield to our signals.”

In addition to the new sounds, the vibrating ring tones will be in tandem with the Growler under the trucks, to give a visual and physical alert to drivers.

Along with the update to the sirens, RAA has also started production on Tweeter Beater, the second rap in our Crossing Alert PSA trilogy, written again by our own Sean Burton.

upgrading sirens

This new, catchy tune highlights the need for high awareness while driving on the streets and looking out for approaching emergency vehicles. Some of Sean’s lyrics are:

“When you see the ECNALUBMA (Ek – na – lum – ba) dont worry bout yo number;
Our Tweeter Beater’s playin’;
So clear the road ….just sayin’.”

The Richmond Ambulance Authority is the first EMS agency in the nation to update their sirens with these types of sounds. We have included some samples of the new sirens that can be heard in the media player below.

Research Sources:
1. Fropol A, Lolo-Farrip – Diminishing Audio Sensory awareness – a study of repetitive sound and the alert/ retention stimulus.


Richmond Ambulance Authority Awarded Re-Accreditation as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence

aceThe International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) is pleased to formally award Re-Accreditation as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence to Richmond Ambulance Authority – Richmond Ambulance Authority was the 66th center in the world to be awarded this highest distinction for their comprehensive implementation and compliance with the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) and associated “20 Points of Excellence”.

The MPDS is the world’s most widely-used 911-type pre-arrival instruction and dispatch-life-support protocol system. With scripted telephone instructions fro CPR, airway obstruction relief, hemorrhage control, and childbirth assistance, the MPDS has been credited with helping save thousands of lives. In addition to requiring proper system oversight, medical control and quality improvement programs, Re-Accreditation demands careful MPDS compliance and certification for all emergency call-takers and medical dispatchers.

Earning this Re-Accreditation award is voluntary and involves completing a detailed self-study and analysis. This accomplishment demonstrates that not only each individual within the communications center, but also to the administration, the community, and the world, that Richmond Ambulance Authority is compliant with all international practices standards for Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD).

With headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization comprised of three allied Academies with related programs and standards for emergency Medial, Fire, and Police dispatching. The IAED regularly reviews and updated the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) protocols for EMD and also maintains protocols and certification standards for Fire and Police Dispatch based on the time-proven MPDS logic structure. The IAED is the public-safety dispatch industry’s leading certifying and standard-setting body, with over 30,000 members in 20 countries.

Read the official release.


RFP for Workers Compensation Coverage

RAA transparent logo

Richmond Ambulance Authority
Notice of Request for Proposal
Workers Compensation Coverage
Solicitation Number: 14-01

Richmond Ambulance Authority, a high performance EMS system located in Richmond, Virginia, announces its intent to bid for the provision of workers compensation coverage. The successful bidder will provide a plan and cost proposal for providing workers compensation coverage to the Authority.

All proposals must be received at Authority offices no later than 3pm, EDT on April 29, 2014. Interested parties may obtain a copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for Workers Compensation Coverage 14-01 by contacting:

Tiffany Ford
Compliance Director
Richmond Ambulance Authority
2400 Hermitage Road
Richmond, Virginia, 23220

Rider Alert Motorcyle Safety Card

Rider Alert Distributes 1 Million Cards

The Rider Alert program distributed it’s one millionth motorcycle safety card on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. This milestone has been achieved through distribution programs in the United Kingdom (CRASH Card), Sweden (Medical Card), and by partnering with other US agencies in New York, Texas, Arizona, and Kentucky.

The Rider Alert motorcycle safety program distributes free identification data cards that help first responders to provide rapid and accurate medical assistance to motorcyclists involved in serious accidents. Launched by the Richmond Ambulance Authority, Bon Secours Virginia Health System and Motorcycle Virginia! in April 2011, Rider Alert is the first program of its kind in the United States. The Rider Alert card is placed inside a rider’s helmet and contains vital life-saving information, emergency contacts and important medical history. When first responders arrive on the scene of a motorcycle accident, a sticker on the outside of the helmet will indicate that the biker has a Rider Alert card. The sticker also warns bystanders not to remove the helmet, which could cause further injury.

The Rider Alert program began as a concept of the UK Ambulance Motorcycle Club and is called CRASH card in the United Kingdom. In April 2011, the program was introduced in Virginia and rebranded as Rider Alert; in the intervening 15 months, through sponsorship, 200,000 Rider Alert cards have been produced and are finding their way into rider’s helmets nationally and internationally.