The issue of emergency medical services (EMS) is complicated and one that has certainly generated considerable attention on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue…especially following the tragic events of September 11th and Hurricane Katrina. While Congress and the Administration continue to address a plethora of issues that impact federal programs and policies in this area, we are concerned that the full scope of EMS is something not fully understood, leading to consideration of ideas that would have a potentially negative impact on fire service-based EMS and the customers it serves.
To ensure that Congress and the Administration more thoroughly understand the role of fire service-based EMS, our organizations established the Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates. Our mission is to add clarity to national policy discussions regarding EMS issues.
EMS is not a service that begins with the transport of a victim to an emergency care facility; instead, it begins with a 9-1-1 call and the dispatch of highly skilled and trained emergency medical personnel from local fire departments who provide basic and advanced levels of care. These are the professionals you witnessed on 9/11 and in the Gulf States when Hurricane Katrina struck, who willingly placed themselves at great peril in order to help others. They are the same highly trained and skilled personnel from local fire departments throughout the country who respond to over 14 million emergency medical calls annually.