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Why Paramedics Should Use GPS Navigation

This is a guest post by Greg Bartlett. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Response Time Matters

Anyone that has training as a Paramedic, EMT, RN, MD, or even CPR knows that every second counts when trying to save a life. If you’re already on the scene when the accident occurs, you have a tremendous time advantage in getting to the victim quickly to perform whatever first aid procedure is necessary.

For EMT’s and other paramedics that have to travel to the scene of the problem, every second that it takes to arrive at the location is a second that may compound the injuries or being one second closer to being “too late.” Having a GPS navigation system that can determine the fastest and most direct route is an absolute necessity when it comes to saving lives.

How GPS Works

A GPS utilizes 24 satellites in space to determine longitudes and latitudes. Combinations of these satellites (usually three or four satellites) determine your location, your destination, and how to get there. Most GPS systems consist of a small square computer screen that you can attach to your dashboard or windshield. It will show a map and can even speak the directions to you (“turn right in three yards”).

Navigating with GPS involves entering the starting point and the destination for accurate driving directions. Key components for a good GPS navigation system include what kind of map storage is possible, how accurate the mapping system is, and route quality. Accuracy and route quality are extremely important features for GPS navigation devices that are used by paramedics. An inaccurate map can cost time and when time is of the essence, an inaccurate mapping system is not acceptable. Also route quality is key to saving time to reach the victim of a medical problem or accident.

Route quality is the shortest distance, the least amount of traffic lights, the least left turns, avoiding back roads, etc.  All of these factors contribute to a speedy arrival at the scene of an accident. Also important is how quickly your GPS navigation system can recalculate if a wrong turn is made. Some systems will take precious seconds recalculating, but the best ones will recalculate in less time and get you quickly back on track to your destination—this is vital for anyone on their way to an emergency. Many medical conditions are treatable if identified and dealt with quickly. Don’t risk lives by using anything less than the best possible GPS navigation or GPS tracking system.

Greg Batlett runs  He specializes in writing about health and technology, including GPS and insurance, and has earned two master’s degree

By First Arriving

Dave is an EMS provider based in New York City for over 20 years and has been blogging for over 10 years. He is experienced in all facets of EMS Service Management, Emergency Management, and specializes in Event Medical Services. He maintains a blog at, is an Columnist, and will be authoring on all things social (including Social Media) here at The Social Medic.