More than 30 years ago, Horton Emergency Vehicles decided to go beyond modern ambulance features, building and testing to a new standard. Horton's testing ushered in a new era of safety - one that exceeded federal requirements. We uphold this tradition today, developing solutions that minimize ambulance occupant risk through a systematic approach to safety.
Our dedication to safety has led to the most comprehensive solution in the industry - HOPS. The Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS) features a system of airbags, seatbelts and progressive foam protection that interact to provide the best in occupant protection. Extensive testing - including frontal, side and rollover crash simulations - have proven HOPS to be the safest system in our industry. And because we believe safety shouldn't be an "upgrade option," all Horton vehicles come fully-equipped with HOPS, providing the same level of Horton protection to all our customers.
When we engineer a Horton, we begin and end with safety in mind. It's our commitment to you.
In the Fire/EMS industry, ambulance accidents are unfortunately commonplace. Death, as a result of crash injury, occurs at a much higher rate than many other professions. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rollover accidents are the most violent of all types of motor vehicle crashes typically causing over 10,000 fatalities and 24,000 injuries per year.
Of these injuries, head trauma is the most frequent and most serious type of injury, representing 32 percent of all occupant fatalities. Rollover injures constitute one third of all vehicle accident injury costs.
Long known for its leadership in safety and testing, Horton Emergency Vehicles has invested years of research to develop a new advanced occupant protection system for these severe rollover crashes. The Horton Occupant Protection System (HOPS) has combined advanced research on airbag protection, head strike dissipation and occupant restraint devices into today's ambulance interior. As always, Horton has performed extensive, fully-documented research to verify the efficacy of every element. And even more important, the HOPS system is standard equipment in every Horton Emergency Vehicle.
Seat belts are a mere starting point - not the total solution - to occupant safety. Our standard, four-point seat belt and vest system is FMVSS compliant and has been sled tested at a third-party testing facility. This system was designed to maximize comfort and safety, giving occupants one click for simplicity and comfort. The occupant has uninhibited mobility through the use of a custom designed four-retractor system. Each retractor can extend and retract independently, giving the occupant a full range of motion to access and work on a patient without removing his or her seat belt.
Dynamic testing with instrumented dummies helped Horton determine areas with high likelihood of headstrike. The potential for fatalities was incredibly high during rollovers as dummies frequently collided with cabinet units.
To address the problem, Horton developed two types of airbags that are deployed in a side impact rollover collision. The inflatable head curtain protects the attendant from the inhalation area cabinet. As an option, the curtain can also be used on the bench at the rear and or head, depending on cabinet configurations.
The tubular structure airbag is used with the head curtain in the main attendant area. It is also used with the CPR seat for additional head protection.
Air bag deployment is dictated by Horton's rollover sensor, which calculates both the angle of the vehicle and the speed at which it's rolling to determine when to fire the airbag restraints. Air bags will even deploy, if neccessary, when the vehicle is not in forward motion.
During testing, Horton identified severe safety issues with traditional foam padding (the most widely used in the industry). While soft to the touch, tests showed that severe headstrikes transmitted completely through the foam padding, literally 'bottoming out' on the mounting surface and offering very little protection.
Horton's solution (and now standard) was progressive resistance foam padding, which dissipates the headstrike energy throughout a laminated protective surface. Similar technology is used in high-impact sports helmets, such as football, to provide improved protection.
While industry use of web/netting and "A" bar is widespread, Horton's research has suggested inconclusive results on its efficacy. Knowing there was still a need for a solution to front cabinet wall impacts, Horton designed a full-strength impact wall. Built with the same aluminum as our body walls and cabinets, the full-strength impact wall was built and tested to the same stringent standards.