EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
An emergency medical service (or EMS) is a service providing out-of-hospital acute care and transport to definitive care, to patients with illnesses and injuries which the patient believes constitute a medical emergency.
EMS is an intricate system, and each component of this system has an essential role to perform as part of a coordinated and seamless system of emergency medical care. An EMS system comprises the following components:
Agencies and organizations (both private and public)
Communications and transportation networks
Trauma systems, hospitals, trauma centers, and specialty care centers
Highly trained professionals, including: volunteer and career pre-hospital personnel, physicians, nurses, therapists, administrators and government officials
An informed public that knows what to do in a medical emergency
EMS does not exist in isolation, but is integrated with other services and systems intended to maintain and enhance the community’s health and safety. EMS operates at the crossroads between health care, public health and public safety. A combination of the principles and resources of each is employed in EMS systems. Since EMS providers work in the community, they are often the first to identify public health problems and issues. The emergence of significant health problems is often heralded by its arrival in the Emergency Department and it arrives via EMS. Since EMS providers respond to all kinds of emergencies and all kinds of hazards, they often work shoulder-to-shoulder with public safety colleagues in law enforcement and fire services. But their primary mission is emergency medical care.
Adopted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians