The History of EMS PARM 102 Prof. Rita Elliott Ivy Tech Community College Feb. 3, 2009 The beginnings of EMS were nothing like the EMS that we know today. The first emergency medical teams started in first half of the 20thcentury and operated out of funeral homes. They would transport the sick and injured to hospitals as well as take the deceased to the funeral home. The funeral home employees had little knowledge of first aid and were in the business only because the hearses were large enough to transport the stretchers.
After World War IIthe first real ambulance services began to appear. Although it was a step in a good direction away from the funeral home service, the new ambulance crews were still untrained and poorly equipped. There were no minimum training requirements for employees, so in most cases basic first aid was the only knowledge they had. It was still better than nothing at all. In the late 60’s a national standard of training for pre-hospital care personnel was established.
It involved a series of presentations, manuals, and slides. It was the first attempt at basic training requirements for EMS. 9-1-1 had its beginnings in the late 60’s also. The number was beginning to be recognized and set aside as the number for emergencies. Although the EMS system was beginning to improve in the 60’s, there was still a lack of consistency. Few states had written a standard of training yet. The ambulances and the equipment carried on them was poor quality also.
The aid bags could weigh as much as 100 pounds and was very inconvenient to carry in emergencies. Radio communication in the 60’s was also unreliable. An estimated five percent of ambulances had any communication with hospitals. Also, many ambulances would only transport patients to their own hospital, regardless of how close another hospital was, or how much better equipped another hospital was for the situation. In 1970the national registry of Emergency Medical Technicians was established.
The idea was to create a standard of training and require an exam and certification of EMT’s. In 1974, however, it was discoveredthat fewer than half of ambulance personnel had received proper training. At that time, proper training was an 81-hour course through the DOT. EMS started to develop at a rapid pace in the mid-70’s. The government was starting to contribute more funds to the development of proper pre-hospital care units.
Standards were set in place, equipment was improving constantly, new organizations were sprouting up, and different levels of advanced education were alsobeginning to show up. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s there were hundreds of improvements in pre-hospital care. There were improvements in policy, personnel and equipment. All of these things developed EMS into what we know today, an advanced, professional team that specializes in saving lives. References The Iowa Department of Transportation: http://www. iowadot. gov/saferroads_emer_response. pdf