Activating EMS: What You May Not Know
Medical emergencies, by their very nature, are unpredictable. Certainly, there are situations in which the likelihood of one occurring is higher than normal, but a medical emergency can happen anywhere, at any time.
This randomness sheds a light on why the resources needed to deal with a medical emergency are not readily available when one occurs. Typically, it is the activation of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system by an untrained or minimally trained bystander that initiates the process to get professional help and resources to those in need.
In 2003, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified in the First There, First Care campaign that expanded EMS systems and better public education on the activation of EMS were key to improving the effectiveness of emergency response.
That challenge was taken on, and for almost all of us, the emergency medical services systems we live within have been, and continue to be, improved.
In the United States, 9-1-1 has been designated as the easy-to-remember telephone number to call in an emergency, routing automatically to the EMS system responsible for the location of the emergency. The 9-1-1 concept is continuously evolving, currently being expanded to deal with new communication technologies that allow for voice, photos, video, and texting capability.
Regarding the bigger picture, let’s make a critical point here: If anyone suspects a medical emergency has occurred, activating EMS is likely the most important and influential action to take. Arguably, for most situations, it may be the only action necessary to result in an effective overall response to the problem.
As a benefit, we are able to provide a simple and clear statement in emergency care training… if you suspect a medical emergency has occurred, activate EMS.
However, a bit more detail may provide a better understanding about why this simple statement is possible and to help build your confidence in getting involved in a medical emergency. Here are some basic concepts you should know:
All of our core CPR and first aid training's include a specific lesson on activating EMS that incorporates much of the above information.