Green blazes trail to making ambulances safer for EMTs, patients

For James D. Green, one of the most alarming statistics is the high number of fatalities and injuries sustained by emergency personnel and patients due to ambulance crashes.

James D. Green (Photo by Sam Kittner/

Green, an engineer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, worked with ambulance manufacturers, encouraging them to crash-test their products to come up with safety improvements.

Working with a public-private team, Green recommended 10 crash safety standards or practices to be used for ambulances and their equipment. This led the ambulance manufacturing industry to develop a series of safety reforms, which the National Association of State EMS Officials is considering.

“Manufacturers are already stepping up to the plate and taking advantage of the science,” said Dawn Castillo, director of the Division of Safety Research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The progress that has been made is remarkable.”


For his work in setting up ambulance crash standards that help reduce injuries and fatalities among emergency personnel and patients, the Partnership for Public Service recently named Green as one of the finalists for the 2014 Citizens Services Medal. The award recognizes federal employees who have made important contributions in the area of citizens services. This includes economic development, health care, education, housing, labor and transportation.

Getting to know James D. Green

Federal News Radio sent each Sammies finalist a brief questionnaire about themselves. Here are Green’s responses:

What three words best describe your leadership philosophy?
Organization, Focus, Perspective.

What’s the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
When you appropriately weigh all of your options, trust your decision — never look back with regret. If needed, reassess your path and make adjustments but trust your decision making process. (My first supervisor with the government — Gene Barndt)

Who is your greatest role model and why?
I don’t have a single role model, I’ve tried to build myself using several individuals as examples. Some have been patient (e.g., father-in-law), some have the work ethic (e.g., father) and some have the type of perseverance and decision making ability I desire to emulate (e.g., first boss – Gene).

What would be the title of your autobiography and why?
“Focus, Honesty and Integrity — Keys to a Full and Satisfying Life”

The Citizen Services Medal is just one of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) presented annually by the Partnership for Public Service. View a photo gallery of all the Sammies nominees.