NAEMT calls for EMS inclusion in national emergency response network

Currently EMS receives just 4 percent of the federal disaster preparedness funds making it 'a low priority pauper in the matrix of funding and training support'

CLINTON, Miss. — The NAEMT board issued a position statement calling for EMS to be included in the national emergency response network.

The statement specifically calls for:

  • Inclusion and integration of EMS as a primary partner in all aspects of preparedness planning.
  • Equitable and stable funding comparable to other partners within the emergency response network.
  • Resources and training opportunities that are accessible to all EMS providers.

NAEMT says including and funding EMS disaster preparedness will help eliminate gaps in the nation's emergency response network, which may delay, deter or disrupt medical care delivery. Currently, EMS receives 4 percent of federal disaster preparedness funds.

EMS is one-of-five critical elements of a disaster system

The National Academies of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) vision is for EMS to be well integrated with the other four pillars of medical surge response — hospital care, public health, out-of-hospital care, and emergency management/public safety — to create a unified disaster care response system.

However, the Academies' vision is not currently implemented because EMS is not adequately funded and is left out of important disaster planning discussions.

"As the initial source of medical care to the public during disasters, the critical interventions and decision-making provided by EMS personnel play a crucial role in the survival of victims," said Carol A. Cunningham, State Medical Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of EMS, and a member of NAEMT's EMS Preparedness Committee. "Yet, EMS remains a secondary afterthought during disaster planning and consistently emerges as a low priority pauper in the matrix of funding and training support. NAEMT, along with our EMS colleagues, welcomes the opportunity to collaboratively establish and support an equitable and valued position for EMS within our nation's emergency preparedness and disaster response system." 

Federal disaster preparedness funds for EMS not proportionate to critical role

NAEMT considers the funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inadequate. The funding has no mandated minimum, and creates "a weak link that may result in the collapse of our emergency response and healthcare systems during disaster," the statement says.

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