Just Released: EMS Medical Directors’ Handbook

The USFA has released the Handbook for EMS Medical Directors for medical directors of local EMS departments and agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs (OHA), has released the Handbook for EMS Medical Directors for physician medical directors of local departments and agencies who serve and support local-level EMS departments of all types, including municipal third service, hospital-based, volunteer, fire department, and in the private sector.

“EMS medical directors are an essential component in local-level emergency response,” said Dr. Alexander G. Garza, DHS Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer. “Their critical oversight and medical direction ensure that patients receive effective emergency medical care – a vital part of this nation’s homeland security.”

The handbook was developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) as part of a cooperative agreement with the DHS’s Office of Health Affairs and the U.S. Fire Administration. Many national level EMS and fire organizations also contributed to the handbook’s development.

“This handbook provides an overview of key roles and responsibilities to assist current and prospective medical directors in performing their important missions,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell.

In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing med­ical direc­tion and over­sight, EMS med­ical direc­tors sup­port first respon­ders regarding train­ing, pro­to­col, and logistics

In addition to providing medical direction and oversight, EMS medical directors support EMS personnel and other first responders through training, protocol development, and resource deployment advice.

“The IAFC and its EMS Section were pleased to work in partnership with the USFA and DHS OHA on this project to support medical directors who are crucial to the effective delivery of EMS throughout this country,” said IAFC President and Chief Al H. Gillespie.

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

You can download the Handbook for EMS Medical Directors here.

Further information on the U.S. Fire Administration’s EMS research initiatives may be found on the USFA website.

Sources: U.S. Fire Administration, EMS1.com

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