EMS Update 2016 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

  • A National Trauma Care System – The Office of EMS co-sponsored a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine that recommended ways to integrate military and civilian trauma systems to achieve zero preventable deaths after injury.

  • Update to Model EMS Clinical Guidelines – In June of 2016, NHTSA entered into a new cooperative agreement with NASEMSO to develop projects impacting EMS systems. NASEMSO recently updated the National Model EMS Clinical Guidelines to include the latest information on cardiac arrest from the American Heart Association, and will continue to revise the guidelines as needed.

  • Innovations in Trauma Care Conference – The Office of EMS is lending support to the American College of Surgeons to sponsor a national conference that will disseminate and promote recent advances in trauma care, with a special emphasis on lessons learned during the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conference will be held in the spring of 2017 and will encourage participation from all levels of healthcare providers.

  • Promoting Innovation in EMS Project Nears Completion – Two years ago, NHTSA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services co-sponsored the Promoting Innovation in EMS Project to encourage new EMS practices in state and local systems. This year, the project released a draft of the final report for public comment.

  • Revision of the EMS Agenda for the Future – As NHTSA recognizes the landmark report’s 20th anniversary, the Office of EMS issued a request for information and received many valuable comments from stakeholders as the first step in the process to revise the Agenda.

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 efforts to improve EMS systems at the local, state and national level. Recent webinars have discussed the role of EMS in reducing opioid overdoses, revising the EMS Agenda for the Future and implementing evidence-based guidelines.

  • AACN Education for EMS and 911 Medical Directors – The American College of Emergency Physicians received funding from the Office of EMS to develop an online training course to teach EMS and 911 medical directors, as well as other healthcare professionals, about the use of Advanced Automatic Collision Notification data to identify motor vehicle crash occupants with serious injuries. The course is expected to be available in the fall of 2016.


  • National EMS Scope of Practice Model Revision – NHTSA issued a request for proposals to revise the National EMS Scope of Practice Model. The goals of the project will be to identify new evidence and science regarding the regulation and State licensure of EMS personnel, facilitate implementation of the Scope of Practice Model, and establish future revision cycles for the Scope Model.

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

Using Data to Improve Care

  • EMS Compass Develops Performance Measures – Through a cooperative agreement with NASEMSO, NHTSA continues to fund the EMS Compass initiative, which designed evidence-based performance measures and released them for public comment and testing. The EMS Compass measures will help local, regional and State EMS systems use their NEMSIS v3 data to improve patient care.

  • Using EMS Data to Support Public Health Efforts – NHTSA and its Federal partners have been collaborating with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to support the White House initiative to combat the opioid epidemic. Information from the National EMS Database provides valuable insight into the impact that opioid overdoses are having on communities across the country. The Office of EMS also collaborated on an article about using data and partnering with public health on drug-related issues for the October issue of EMSWorld magazine.

  • NHTSA Hosts “Beyond Data Collection Summit: Envisioning an Information Driven Future” – In July, NHTSA hosted stakeholders from more than 30 organizations to discuss data collection and use in EMS and the healthcare continuum. The project committee that facilitated the summit will develop a working document to support data use in improving EMS and to inform the EMS Agenda for the Future revision.

Supporting efforts to strengthen and prepare the EMS workforce nationwide

Enhancing EMS Workforce

  • REPLICA – A well-educated and uniformly credentialed EMS workforce continues to be a priority goal for FICEMS, and the Federal partners continue to support state, territorial and tribal efforts to enhance interstate legal recognition and reciprocity of EMS personnel. NASEMSO has proposed an interstate compact model (REPLICA) that will help offer rapid and in some cases immediate legal recognition to EMS practitioners operating across state lines.

  • Fighting Fatigue in EMS – Sponsored by the NHTSA Office of Behavioral Safety Research, the goal of the Fatigue in EMS initiative is to develop evidence-based recommendations that can help EMS agencies and practitioners mitigate the impact that fatigue has on the health and safety of patients and providers.

Protecting the health & safety of EMS practitioners and their patients

Promoting Safety

  • Use of Lights and Sirens – NHTSA is funding the completion of an Emerging Issues Whitepaper on the appropriate use of emergency response and transport with lights and sirens, a long-standing topic for debate in the EMS community. Pennsylvania EMS Medical Director Douglas Kupas, MD, serves as the lead author of the whitepaper.

  • Safely Transporting Children in Ground Ambulances – NHTSA continues its internal team efforts to research and assess the current status of pertinent standards, guidance and authorities related to safely transporting pediatric patients. NHTSA also participates as a member of NASEMSO’s Safe Transport of Children Ad Hoc Committee (STC).

  • EMS Provider and Patient Safety in Ambulances – The Office of EMS analyzed twenty years of ambulance crash data as part of a national campaign to promote provider and patient safety in ambulances. The infographic is a key element of that campaign, which has reached hundreds of thousands of people. It is available for download to share with your organization.

Analyzing data and measuring performance to enable improvements in EMS Systems

Supporting Research

  • Prehospital Management of Suspected Opioid Overdoses – The Office of EMS, in collaboration with other Federal partners, is supporting a systematic review of the scientific literature on prehospital management of opioid overdose. The report, which will focus on the optimal route(s) of administration, titration goals and hospital transport following resuscitation, is expected to be published in May of 2017.

  • Statewide Implementation of Evidence-based Guidelines – 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

  • Stop the Bleed Initiative – The Office of EMS supports the “Stop the Bleed” campaign led by the White House to train Americans to serve as immediate responders by recognizing and treating major bleeding in the first few minutes after an injury. The campaign has developed several videos, infographics and other resources to help educate the public.

Providing leadership and coordination to support and promote optimal 911 services

Assisting the 911 System

  • Recommended Minimum Training Guidelines for Telecommunicators – This project is the result of a 911 community-wide effort over three years to identify nationally recognized, universally accepted minimum topics that can be used to train aspiring and current 911 telecommunicators, and to provide the foundation for ongoing professional development. The project developed recommended training topics and a model legislative document for states.

  • Standards for Enhanced and Next Generation 911 – The number of standards development organizations (SDOs) addressing NG911 issues can make understanding and tracking the developing standards a daunting task. Since 2011, the National 911 Program has assisted the community’s important standards development effort by compiling and sharing all of the current standards information in one complete report.

  • 2015 National 911 Progress Report – The National 911 Program released the latest report of 911 statistics and progress in deploying NG911 from more than 42 states and territories. The data is useful for States and 911 stakeholders in developing effective policies, planning and implementation strategies.