Emergency Medical Services

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EMS Tutorial: History

We are all defined, in part, by our history. The history of EMS extends back before recorded time. Certainly cave persons provided some type of rudimentary emergency medical care for their own clan members who suffered bite wounds from saber tooth tigers or blunt trauma from herding mammoths. We, however, can only present you with a brief look at the recorded history of EMS.

EMS Milestones

  • 800 BC 1st recorded resuscitation, Elijah, Bible: 2 Kings, iv, 34
  • 200 BC Roman military medic: ‘Medici Vulnerarii’
  • 4 BC Greek military medics: ‘Iatros’ (extractor of arrows)
  • 500 AD Byzantine military medics: ‘Scribones’
  • 1023 Order of St. John, precursor of St. John Ambulance
  • 1790 1st military ambulance sent to the field during battle: ‘Ambulance volares’ thanks to Napoleon’s chief surgeon, Dominique-Jean Larrey
  • 1865 1st U.S. civilian ambulance service, Cincinnati General Hospital
  • 1870 1st medical airlift, balloon transport of wounded out of Paris during Prussian siege
  • 1899 1st automobile ambulance (electric), Reece Hospital, Chicago
  • 1902 1st woman ambulance surgeon, Emily Dunning Barriger, MD, New York
  • 1919 1st army air ambulance flight (strapped on the fuselage of a biplane behind the pilot)
  • 1943 1st use of helicopter as air ambulance, US Coast Guard
  • 1962 ‘Resusci-Anne’ (CPR manikin) developed by Laerdal
  • 1963 1st Committee on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • 1964 1st training manual for ambulance personnel: Emergency Care and Transport of the Sick and Injured, commonly called the ‘Orange Book’
  • 1966 1st mobile coronary care unit, Dr. Pantridge, Ireland
  • 1966 Accidental Death and Disability, The Neglected Disease was published and became the catalyst for needed changes in EMS
  • 1966 National Academy of Science Conference on CPR
  • 1968 1st U.S. prehospital coronary care unit, staffed by M.D.s, in Manhattan
  • 1968 1st tribal EMS program, Rosebud Sioux
  • 1970 National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) founded in Columbus, Ohio
  • 1971 1st television show about paramedics: ‘Emergency’ with Johnny and Roy
  • 1971 1st EMT curriculum from NHTSA: Emergency Medical Technician-Ambulance, Patient Handling Manual
  • 1972 1st hospital based helicopter ambulance service, St. Anthony’s hospital, Denver
  • 1973 1st EMS Act: provided $$ for EMS and outlined 15 components of an EMS system
  • 1973 Star of Life developed from the Medic Alert symbol of the AMA by Leo Schwartz of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • 1974 Early ACLS guidelines developed
  • 1975-1977 AMA recognized the Paramedic as an allied health occupation;NHTSA developed Paramedic curriculum
  • 1981 COBRA: this act replaced dedicated EMS funding with block grants (and caused many other changes within the health care field)
  • 1984 EMS for Children funded under Public Health Act
  • 1984 NHTSA contracted revision of the EMT Basic and Paramedic curricula and development of an EMT Intermediate curriculum
  • 1984 National Association of EMS Physicians founded
  • 1990 Trauma Care Systems and Development Act
  • 1990 Consensus Workshop on EMS Training Programs, NHTSA
  • 1991 National Native Amercan EMS Association founded
  • 1993 National EMS Education and Practice Blueprint developed
  • 1994 EMT-Basic curriculum revision, NHTSA
  • 1995 EMS Agenda for the Future, Blue Ribbon Conference
  • 1996 EMS Agenda for the Future released by NHTSA and HRSA
  • 1998 EMT Intermediate and Paramedic Curricula revision, NHTSA
  • 1998 EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach released by NHTSA
  • 2002 EMS Research Agenda for the Future
  • Next an overview of the EMS response.

EMS Tutorial Content



The EMS Response

The EMS Responder


EMS Summary

Medical Oversight Tutorial