Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Policies and Protocols

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Operational Templates and Guidance for EMS Mass Incident Deployment

In cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Health Affairs, USFA performed a study of model policies and protocols for EMS mass care incident deployment and developed a guide from that study which provides templates for such policies for state and local-level EMS departments, emergency management departments, and fire departments.

Operational Templates and Guidance for EMS Mass Incident Deployment provides information on preparedness for mass care incidents, including natural and man-made disasters, large gathering and pandemic events, and other emergencies potentially resulting in large numbers of patients. The guide provides a foundation for further development of EMS-specific policies that improve readiness to manage the full spectrum of hazards that face communities and helps local EMS to better integrate emergency preparedness and response activities into similar processes occurring at the federal, tribal, state, local, and regional levels.

EMS Medical Directors Handbook

EMS Medical Directors serve and support local level EMS by providing oversight, training, and protocol development. However, in some cases, EMS Medical Directors are not provided guidance on this role and responsibility. This handbook targets physicians who serve and support local-level EMS departments of all types: municipal third service, hospital-based, volunteer, fire department, and private sector.

EMS medical direction in this handbook includes all levels of emergency medical care, from basic to advanced life support, and covers the following topics:

  • training
  • certification
  • personnel selection
  • personnel management
  • quality assurance
  • protocol development
  • collective bargaining impacts
  • management of volunteers
  • continuing medical education
  • resource deployment
  • medical care delivery
  • equipment and technology
  • special operations
  • mass casualty management
  • billing issues
  • liability
  • EMS provider health and safety

To complement the Handbook for EMS Medical Directors, an online educational outreach program for physician medical directors of local departments and agencies involved in EMS response is also available. This web-based program for current and prospective EMS medical directors provides information in a conveniently accessible format to support key roles in the provision of EMS to communities.

EMS Medical Directors Educational Outreach Program Website »

Pandemic Influenza: Best Practices and Model Protocols

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for developing best practices and model protocols for use by State, local, tribal, and territorial personnel in the development of pandemic influenza plans, preparedness activities, training, and exercises. The content is a synopsis of input received from Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal EMS, fire, emergency management, public works, and sector-specific participants during a three-day forum sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security's Chief Medical Officer and hosted by the U.S. Fire Administration on 23-25 February 2007. The results of this forum are being coordinated with the ongoing efforts of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others.

Links of Interest