When a person becomes ill or injured and dials 911, the call is answered by an EMS dispatcher, who is trained to obtain key information from the caller about the location and type of emergency. The dispatcher also may give the caller patient care instructions while sending emergency responders to the scene of the emergency.
These responders include:
Emergency Medical Responders
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians
The training level needed for EMS practitioners is a state decision. Each level of EMS practitioner is trained to perform different skills to assist patients.
EMS practitioners work under protocols approved by a physician medical director, who oversees the care of patients in the EMS system and is knowledgeable about patient care interventions and how EMS systems deliver care. Typically, EMS medical directors work in conjunction with local EMS leaders to assure quality patient care. Many of these medical directors are members of the National Association of EMS Physicians. The medical director oversees the care of patients in the EMS system, and he or she is knowledgeable about patient care interventions and how EMS systems deliver care.
EMS care may be provided by private ambulance companies, fire or police departments, a public EMS agency, a hospital or by a combination of these. EMS practitioners may be paid workers or community volunteers.