We are frequently contacted at EMS World by various associations, government bodies, companies and journalists all looking for the Holy Grail for EMS—data.
Typically we have to tell folks that the facts and figures they are looking for just do not exist and, if they do, are often fragmented, dated and even unreliable. A recent report sponsored by the Federal Interagency Committee for Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS) and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) aims to resolve this issue.
The 2011 National EMS Assessment report was completed over a 24-month period from September 2009 to August 2011. Its purpose was to identify and analyze existing databases containing information on EMS, EMS emergency preparedness and 9-1-1 systems at the state and national levels. The report provides a detailed description of the nation’s EMS systems, which comprise an estimated 19,971 EMS agencies and 81,295 vehicles. Of the 826,111 licensed and credentialed personnel, 64% are EMT-Basics and 24% are paramedics, and two-thirds of the EMS workforce is male.
This landmark report provides comprehensive data aggregated at both the state and national levels. These data will allow the officials responsible for improving EMS systems to benchmark current and future performance and identify areas of strength and weakness, officials said in a prepared statement. Some of the data is unsettling. Only one state currently monitors EMS on-the-job injury data and just 11 states monitor EMS vehicle crash data.
The cover report of the March issue of EMS World Magazine will analyze the findings of this report and what they mean to EMS. We will provide handy snapshots of the data that agencies can use to inform their communities and city councils about how their system compares (both positively and negatively) to other agencies. Knowledge is power, so let’s mobilize this data and use it to engage, educate and inform.