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National Emergency Medical Services Week (EMS Week) recognizes the dedication of EMS professionals across the United States who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line” to keep their communities safe and healthy. This year, we honor these brave men and women from May 21-27, 2017.

The theme of EMS Week 2017 is “EMS Strong: Always in Service.” It reminds us of the commitment of EMTs, paramedics, their ambulance services, and key partners to this critical work every single day. Each emergency situation presents a different set of circumstances, and EMS professionals adapt to the ever-changing environment to provide high-quality emergency care.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) supports the certification, licensure, and training of EMS personnel and ambulance services to promote a statewide community-based emergency medical services system that reduces premature death and disability from acute illness and injury through the coordination of local and regional EMS resources. EMS is a service delivered on the local level, taking into account local conditions, needs, and resources, so the model of EMS service delivery varies from municipality to municipality.

OEMS staff work to certify nearly 23,000 EMS personnel. Each member of the EMS team provides lifesaving care to individuals in our communities across the Commonwealth.

ems-certification

EMS personnel are divided into three certification categories: EMT-Basic, Advanced EMT, and Paramedic, and each plays a critical role in the comprehensive EMS response. Because each provides different levels of care in emergency situations, there are different certification requirements that must be met.

  • EMT-Basics provide basic emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients.
  • Advanced EMTs (AEMTs) provide basic and limited advanced emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients.
  • Paramedics provide the full range of advanced life support emergency medical care for critical and emergent patients.

The Department also accredits 60 EMT training institutions, which are the only entities authorized to provide initial training of EMS personnel at all levels.

In addition to certifying EMS personnel, OEMS also licenses 320 ambulance services in Massachusetts. These may be operated by private for-profit companies, private nonprofits, or municipal agencies. These ambulance services serve nearly 7 million residents, plus visitors, in communities across the Commonwealth, covering over 10,000 square miles of land and water. The Commonwealth is geographically divided into five EMS regions, which assist the Department to oversee emergency medical care.

oems-region-map

EMS personnel are often referred to as medicine’s “front line.” They are our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, and they dedicate their work to ensuring that our communities, both in Massachusetts and across the United States, are safe and healthy. During National EMS Week and all year long, we recognize the critical role that emergency medical services play to both promote and maintain public health in the Commonwealth.

For more information about National EMS Week, visit the American College of Emergency Physician’s website at www.acep.org/emsweek.

Written By:


Health Communications Strategy Manager in the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality

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