EMS Update 2015 Annual Recap

Consensus building, collaboration, and supporting significant national projects are the hallmarks of NHTSA’s contribution to EMS system development. Its mission is to reduce death and disability by providing leadership and coordination to the EMS community in assessing, planning, developing and promoting comprehensive, evidence-based emergency medical services and 911 systems.

For more information about the Office’s programs and initiatives, sign up to receive EMS Update, the Office’s official newsletter, register to attend EMS Focus: A Federal Webinar Series and get other Federal meetings announcements and news.

Supporting the importance of developing EMS as a coordinated system of care

Advancing EMS Systems

  • EMS Compass - This initiative is focused on EMS community collaboration with the goal of creating performance measures in EMS to improve the quality of care at the local, regional, state and national levels. EMS Compass will continue to receive public comment on the measures and testing process through the first quarter of 2016.

  • Promoting Innovations in Emergency Services – Supported by the Office of EMS, this project aims to create model regulatory, legal and financial frameworks to assist and encourage health systems at the local and state level to test new EMS delivery models. Input from EMS stakeholders will help create a National Framework Document that encourages utilizing the full potential of EMS.

Supporting a nationwide systems approach to EMS education

Promoting Education

  • EMS Focus Webinar Series – This Federal webinar series provides the EMS community with a unique opportunity to learn more about collaborative Federal EMS efforts and programs. Recent webinars have discussed EMS systems and performance benchmarking, an analysis of ambulance crash data, the top priorities in the FICEMS Strategic Plan and the application of tourniquets and hemostatic dressings.

  • AACN Education for EMS and 911 Medical Directors – This effort focuses on teaching EMS and 911 medical directors about the connection between crash biomechanics and injury, and promoting the incorporation of Advanced Automatic Collision Notification data into existing protocols. Funded by NHTSA, this project supports the development of an online continuing medical education course managed by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP).

Collecting & sharing standardized EMS data to support improvements in patient care and EMS Systems

Using Data to Improve Care

  • NEMSIS 3.0 Update – Version 3.0 data collection has commenced and more than two-thirds of U.S. states and territories are already submitting, or making progress toward submitting Version 3 data. NEMSIS Version 3.0 is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2016 when Version 2 data will no longer be accepted.

Supporting efforts to strengthen and prepare the EMS workforce nationwide

Enhancing EMS Workforce

  • Military to Civilian EMS – The OEMS continues to sponsor NASEMSO activities to streamline the transition from military to civilian EMS, such as simplifying the process for veterans and service members to earn civilian licenses and certifications, consistent with the FICEMS Strategic Plan.

Protecting the health & safety of EMS practitioners and their patients

Promoting Safety

  • Ambulance Safety: Tracking and Investigating Crashes – NHTSA analyzed 20 years of ambulance crash data to understand patient and provider safety and offer guidance on using proper restraints while in transit. Accompanying the study is a downloadable infographic that identifies the importance of buckling up for both patients and providers.

  • National Ambulance Driver Education Requirements – NHTSA's Office of Behavioral Safety Research is assessing the current state of emergency vehicle operations in the country, including training requirements and how state and local agencies respond to ambulance crashes. Following the comprehensive national survey, the next step will be to study the efficacy of training and to disseminate data-driven best practices for EMS agencies.

  • Studying the Impacts of Fatigue on Ambulance Operations and Patient Care – As part of a recommendation from NEMSAC, NHTSA recognizes the important impact fatigue can play in EMS and will soon commence research efforts to provide guidance to support EMS agencies.
  • Tracking EMS Worker Injury Rates Nationally – Since 2008, NHTSA and NIOSH have collaborated on national research on non-fatal EMS worker injuries. NIOSH uses the occupational supplement to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS-Work) to determine annual estimates of the number of injured EMS workers in the United States.

Analyzing data and measuring performance to enable improvements in EMS Systems

Supporting Research

  • Emerging Digital Technologies in EMS – This NHTSA-supported white paper addresses innovative technologies designed to improve how information is processed and communicated, whether through mobile, social, cloud-based or big data. The paper also offers strategies for the EMS community to build a robust EMS information ecosystem.

  • Evidence-Based Prehospital Guidelines for External Hemorrhage – The Office of EMS provided support to NASEMSO to study the implementation of an evidence-based guideline on pain control in six states. The report, expected to be published in early 2017, discusses barriers and enablers for prehospital guideline implementation and includes an extensive implementation toolkit.

Fostering collaboration across the Federal government to enhance readiness for catastrophic incidents

Enabling Preparedness

  • "Interim Guidance for EMS Systems and 911 PSAPs for Management of Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in the United States" – Developed by FICEMS, the OEMS and CDC, this guidance focuses on a coordinated response among PSAPs, the EMS system, healthcare facilities and the public health system in responding to suspected Ebola cases to ensure the health and safety of the public and care providers.
  • FICEMS Reports on EMS System Ebola Preparedness – On December 4, 2014, the FICEMS Technical Working Group submitted a public memorandum to FICEMS on EMS System Ebola Preparedness. The memo provides an overview of staff actions taken in support of the CDC, ASPR and other federal partners, and makes recommendations for future actions to support EMS systems.
  • Developing Mass Casualty Instructional Guidelines – In response to “National Implementation of the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Incident Triage [MUCC]: A Report of the FICEMS” the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) has developed a MUCC addendum to the instructional guidelines of the National EMS Education Standards. NCDMPH and NHTSA will begin pilot testing this addendum in the Fall of 2015. NCDMPH is located within the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).

Providing leadership and coordination to support and promote optimal 911 services

Supporting the 911 System

  • 2014 National 911 Progress Report – The National 911 Program released the latest progress report of 911 statistics and progress in deploying NG911 from more than 40 states and territories. The data is useful for States and 911 stakeholders in developing policies and implementation strategies.

  • 911 Grants – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently conducted a successful spectrum auction and $115 million will be made available to the National 911 Program Office to jointly implement a grant program with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to help States implement the transition to Next Generation 911. More information about the grant regulations and application process will be available in early 2016.

Other Federal Updates



The National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) is a nationally recognized council of EMS representatives who provide advice and recommendations regarding EMS to the DOT and FICEMS. NEMSAC recommendations often influence EMS programs and priorities at the DOT and FICEMS.

New Members Join Council and Plan Initiatives
Nineteen new and six returning members joined the Council in July 2015 and NEMSAC is beginning to assess the priorities they will be addressing over the next two years. John Sinclair was elected as Chairman and Anne Montera as Vice Chair. Meetings of the Council are currently scheduled for December 1-2, 2015, April 18-19, 2016 and September 7-8, 2016. NEMSAC meetings are open to the public and include a public comment period on each agenda. Pre-registration is required.

NEMSAC Delivers Final Advisory on Community Paramedicine
NEMSAC members developed a comprehensive report on the topic of community paramedicine, including specific recommendations to NHTSA and FICEMS to help the initiative reach its full potential.



The Federal Interagency Committee on EMS was established in 2005 to ensure coordination among Federal agencies involved with State, local, tribal, and regional emergency medical services and 911 systems. NHTSA’s OEMS, in cooperation with its Federal partners, provides administrative support to the Committee.

FICEMS Receives Recommendations from NEMSAC on Strategic Plan
FICEMS members received a written response from NEMSAC to its request for recommendations regarding the advancement of the FICEMS strategic plan. The NEMSAC’s response featured a matrix that suggested the priority and term, both long and short, of the plan’s objectives. FICEMS is analyzing these NEMSAC recommendations and is also continuing work on current activities, those considered high priorities in line with prior NEMSAC recommendations. The next committee meeting is scheduled for December 2, 2015. FICEMS meetings are open to the public and include a public comment period on each agenda. Pre-registration is required.

FICEMS Committees Establish Objectives for the Year
The five committees under FICEMS met in August to establish objectives and goals for the year. The data standards and exchange committee is dedicated to promoting the standardization and quality improvement of prehospital EMS data through NEMSIS–compliant systems, while the evidence-based practice and quality committee will support the development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based guidelines. Efforts to improve EMS system preparedness for all-hazards through coordinated multidisciplinary planning will be lead by the preparedness committee. The workforce and veterans credentialing committee will support military EMS providers transitioning to civilian practice through joint efforts with state EMS offices. Finally, the safety committee will help mitigate occupational injuries, deaths and exposures to serious infectious illnesses in the EMS workforce.