Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

What are emergency medical services (EMS)?

Emergency medical services (EMS) is a system that offers emergency pre-hospital medical care. EMS and responders are most easily recognized by emergency vehicles or helicopters responding to an emergency incident.

EMS offers more than transportation to the hospital, though, and is a coordinated response and emergency medical care system involving multiple people and agencies.

The components that make up an EMS system include:

  • Dispatch centers
  • Communications and transportation networks
  • Private and public organizations and agencies
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Trauma systems, specialty care centers, hospitals, and trauma centers
  • Highly trained professionals (e.g., physicians, therapists, nurses, volunteer personnel, government officials, administrators)

Why is EMS important for healthcare?

EMS acts as a link between healthcare, public safety, and public health. EMS providers work in the community and can first identify problems affecting the well-being of the public or factors that may lead to health emergencies. Those who work in EMS also work closely with law enforcement and fire services, as they respond to all kinds of emergencies and hazards.

The primary goal of EMS is to provide immediate medical care to those who need it most, and it is a crucial administrator of pre-hospital services.