EMS Medical Directors Handbook Released

The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA), has released a handbook for physician medical directors of local departments and agencies who are involved in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response. The Handbook for EMS Medical Directors (PDF, 2.5 Mb) covers topics ranging from occupational health and safety to liability issues.

"This handbook provides an overview of key roles and responsibilities to assist current and prospective medical directors in performing their important missions," said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell.

The Handbook for EMS Medical Directors was developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) as part of a cooperative agreement with the DHS OHA and USFA. Many national level EMS and fire organizations also contributed to the handbook's development.

"EMS medical directors are an essential component in local-level emergency response," said Dr. Alexander G. Garza, DHS Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer. "Their critical oversight and medical direction ensure that patients receive effective emergency medical care – a vital part of this nation's homeland security."

In addition to providing medical oversight and direction, EMS medical directors support EMS personnel and other first responders through training, protocol development, and resource deployment advice.

"The IAFC and its EMS Section were pleased to work in partnership with the USFA and DHS OHA on this project to support medical directors who are crucial to the effective delivery of EMS throughout this country," said IAFC President and Chief Al H. Gillespie.

Further information on USFA's EMS research initiatives may be found on the USFA website.

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