Problem Identification:
While EMS has traditionally had a public safety
orientation, the quality and effectiveness of service is a major public health issue. Additionally, the City’s existing EMS public information and education efforts have been inadequate.

Recommended Actions:
Recognize the public’s use of the City EMS system as a
major health care issue and develop appropriate public information, outreach, and research efforts.

Organizational, Service Improvements

Functional/Operational Area:
Fire and Health Departments

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Not Determined

Barriers to Implementation:
Identifying funding and staff resources to dedicate to these efforts.

Projected Implementation:

Next Steps:
An alliance comprising local public health, health system, and EMS officials should be formed for the purpose of
developing programmatic and financial strategies for increasing public education and injury prevention efforts above current levels.

The City’s Health and Fire Departments should collaborate to ensure that the broadest possible audience of citizens is exposed to critical lifesaving skills. In some cities, such as Seattle, the likelihood of surviving from sudden and witnessed cardiac arrest is five to ten times greater than many East Coast cities. This is attributed to major public CPR educational campaigns. A variety of informational and outreach programs can serve to reduce EMS mortality and morbidity, including:

– First aid
– Latch-key kids/babysitting skills
– Home safety
– Elderly fall prevention
– Use of 911
– Child safety seats
– Intoxicated driving programs

The Maryland State EMS Plan, adopted in 1995, included the following goal: ‘Increase public awareness of the role EMS plays, the appropriate means to access and utilize the system, and effective ways to prevent injury and sudden illness. Additionally, the plan identified the following specific objectives:

– Develop relationships with all media to enhance accurate coverage of EMS issues and activities.

– Establish public, private, and community relationships to promote support for EMS and for injury and illness prevention activities.

– Provide basic media training to regional and local EMS agencies to enhance the flow of information to citizens through local media.

– Utilize existing and developing technologies for dissemination of public information and educational materials (e.g.: training, satellites, cable/computers).

– Identify public information and education priorities through use of relevant data; disseminate public information and education materials to address these priorities.

Additionally, health service research initiatives should augment EMS system quality improvement efforts. The following research initiatives could equip the City’s public health and EMS professionals with the necessary information to achieve more beneficial outreach and education outcomes:

Patient Outcome Studies

– Cardiac arrest
– Stroke
– Pulmonary disease such as asthma
– Trauma/major injury
– Spinal injury/whiplash

Performance Studies

– 911 communications and dispatching
– Response times and time intervals
– Appropriateness of triage decisions
– Provider skill utilization

System Operations

– Spatial and temporal variations in EMS response patterns