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About the Office of EMS

Our Mission is to provide national leadership and coordination of comprehensive, data-driven, and evidence-based emergency medical services and 911 systems.

Consensus-building, collaboration and supporting significant national projects are the hallmarks of NHTSA’s contributions to EMS system development. An efficient EMS system is integral to reducing injury and mortality on and off our Nation’s highways, and is key to ensuring prompt emergency response to any type of illness or injury. The Nation’s best preparation for any incident, large or small, is a comprehensive EMS system, ready every day for every emergency.

What We Do

We advance a National vision for EMS through projects and research.

Over the past 40 years, NHTSA has partnered with public and private organizations to assess the state of the EMS system and identify critical gaps. We have produced comprehensive, evidence-based reports (including the EMS Agenda 2050, it’s predecessor, the EMS Agenda for the Future, Education Agenda for the Future and Workforce Agenda for the Future) that serve as the foundation for decisions at the Federal, State, and local levels.

We foster collaboration among Federal agencies engaged in EMS programming.

Working in cooperation with our peers and the EMS community enables us to leverage resources, promote the most innovative ideas, and accelerate the development of advanced EMS systems. NHTSA supports two collaborative bodies established to gather critical stakeholder input and prioritize EMS initiatives for the Nation: The Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) includes representatives from the Federal agencies responsible for EMS programming, while the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) is composed of trusted leaders in the EMS community who advise NHTSA on its projects and the future of EMS nationwide. NHTSA’s National 911 Program is also an important Federal partner.

We collaborate with transportation officials to support the improvement of post-crash care on our roadways

EMS and 911 systems are a vital element of the effort to improve outcomes for people involved in motor vehicle crashes across the nation. Improvement of 911 and EMS systems allow for improved communication, location of crashes and the ability to provide the right care at the right time in the right place. Data collected through EMS systems provide valuable insight to help transportation officials identify and address challenges in their communities.

We deliver the data EMS leaders need to advance their systems.

The best decisions are those that are informed by timely, accurate data. NHTSA has taken a leading role in identifying the types of information required by researchers and EMS leaders, developing the protocols for collecting this data, and building the databases to store and analyze critical statistics. Learn more about the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) and plans to improve the consistency of EMS workforce data, which will inform workforce planning and practitioner and patient safety procedures.

We evaluate system performance.

NHTSA and a team of independent subject matter experts have developed the guidelines against which we can measure the health of our Nation’s EMS systems, and have evaluated statewide EMS systems in all 50 states. Given the varied ways in which EMS services are delivered at the National, State, and local levels, benchmarking current performance is a critical step in building better systems.

Last Updated: 10/27/2023