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EMS Education Tips

Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Patient Care Pit Crew

By Greg Friese

Category: Clinical Practice

My son’s favorite part of watching auto racing is the crashes. My favorite part is watching the pit crew. Each crew member has an assigned role: changing tires, adding gas, cleaning windows or fixing alignment and body problems.

Have you observed your local trauma center using a “pit crew” when you present a major trauma patient? Physicians, nurses and technicians are assigned specific roles to assess and stabilize the patient’s injuries. The trauma team pit crew increases efficiency by assigning responsibilities, establishing communication pathways, and pre-determining the order that tasks are completed.

Do you use a pit crew for specific types of patients? Take a look at these patient types and my ideas for each pit crew’s roles.

Chest Pain Patient Pit Crew

  • Paramedic 1: Crew Leader. Assess patient and direct others.
  • Paramedic 2: Initiate cardiac monitoring, gain IV access, and administer medications.
  • EMT 1: Start oxygen, assist paramedic 2.
  • EMT 2: Help disrobe patient, prepare cot and ambulance for patient.

Cardiac Arrest Patient Pit Crew

  • Paramedic 1: Crew Leader. Rhythm analysis and interpretation. Deliver electricity.
  • Paramedic 2: Gain IV or IO access, administer medications.
  • Paramedic 3 or EMT 1: Place visualized or non-visualized airway.
  • EMT 1: Alternate chest compressions and bag valve mask ventilation.
  • EMT 2: Alternate bag valve mask ventilation and chest compressions.

How would you adapt this for your local resources and deployment models?

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
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