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Emergency Medical Services

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) sponsors research and studies to help keep Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their patients safe and help prepare fire departments for special EMS operations.

Coronavirus: updates for EMS and first responders

Find out what the latest infection control and prevention recommendations are for EMS personnel when encountering patients with suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms.

Read the recommendations

EMS outreach

Share these images on your department’s Twitter or Facebook account to remind community residents to prepare for a medical emergency.

Help victims of human trafficking

Victims of human trafficking might look like many of the people you help as a member of the fire and emergency services—and in some cases, they are. This collection of resources will help you learn about the crime and be prepared to help prevent human trafficking and treat victims.

Report suspicious activity

If you see signs of human trafficking, report it to law enforcement online, or call 866-347-2423.

Human Trafficking Awareness for First Responders (11:11)

Learn about human trafficking

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit someone for labor or commercial sex. Any minor exploited for commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking.

Get a better sense for the human trafficking problem in the U.S. with these materials from the DHS:

See also:

Training helps EMS workers identify human trafficking signs


Combatting Human Trafficking: The Role of Fire and EMS

After watching this webinar, you will be able to define human trafficking, identify trafficking indicators in patients, and know how to report trafficking to authorities.

Watch the webinar

Download or order printable reference materials

You can download or order free materials available in several languages from DHS that:

Visit the Blue Campaign Resource Catalog to order or download materials to share with fellow first responders.

Guidelines and protocols

There are many different responsibilities for EMS responders. One of the primary responsibilities is being prepared to respond to all hazards. Rather than starting from scratch to create policies and protocols, consider using these guidelines.

Prepare for mass care incidents

USFA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) studied how EMS respond to events that might have a large number of patients or victims.

After the study, we published a guide for how EMS and fire departments can best respond to these “mass care incidents.” The mass care guide PDF 1.5 MB will help you:

Learn about being an EMS medical director

Medical directors provide oversight and medical direction to ensure that effective emergency medical care is provided to patients. In addition to providing medical oversight and direction, EMS medical directors support EMS personnel and first responders through training, protocol development and resource deployment advice.

We’ve created an overview of key roles and responsibilities to assist current and prospective medical directors in performing their important duties. If you’re a physician serving a hospital-based, volunteer, fire, or private EMS department, download the handbook PDF 2.5 MB to learn more about:

To complement the handbook, we collaborated with the International Association of Fire Chiefs to create an online training program.

EMS responder safety

Occupant safety in ambulances

USFA partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on an ambulance and EMS vehicle safety study to reduce vehicle-related injuries to responders.

The project outfitted an ambulance with two types of vehicle occupant restraints. Study objectives included:

You can read more about this project on the NIOSH website.

Responder safety study

The safety and health of EMS responders is a critical issue for both fire departments and third service EMS providers.

We are working with the International Association of Fire Fighters to study EMS responder health and safety issues, including:

Study results and safety guidance will be published in late 2020.

Pandemic continuity of response operations, health and safety

USFA is working with the National Association of State EMS Officials to study COVID-19-revealed issues related to continuity of operations and emergency responder health and safety during a pandemic. Estimated release date: October 2021.

Until this new study is published, please refer to the recently updated Information for First Responders on Maintaining Operational Capabilities During a Pandemic.

More information on EMS