Generic EMS Questions

Volunteer EMS Questions

What is EMS?

EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services. EMS provides medical care outside of the hospital or medical office setting. Most often, people call EMS when they have had an accident or are experiencing a medical emergency. Emergencies might include heart attack, difficulty breathing, falls, accidents, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdose and acute illnesses. EMS services may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and en route to a hospital. top

What is an EMS system?

EMS is much more than an ambulance service. The delivery of emergency medical care is made up of many parts, together which are called the EMS system. The EMS system includes the call center that receives the call for and dispatches help, those who respond first (such as police officers and firefighters), an ambulance transportation team of EMTs and/or paramedics, physicians and nurses who provide advice via radio or phone, air medical services (helicopters and small airplanes), hospital receiving facilities, governmental and medical oversight. top

Who provides EMS?

When a person becomes ill or injured and dials 911 or another emergency phone number, the call is answered by an EMS dispatcher, who is trained to obtain important information from the call-taker about the location and type of emergency. The dispatcher also may give the caller patient care instructions while sending emergency responders to the scene of the emergency. These responders may be trained to different levels: Each of these levels of EMS responders is trained to perform different kinds of skills to assist the patient.

EMS responders work under protocols approved by a physician medical director. Many of these medical directors are members of the National Association of EMS Physicians. The medical director oversees the care of patients in the EMS system, and he or she is knowledgeable about patient care interventions and how EMS systems deliver care. Typically, EMS medical directors work in conjunction with local EMS leaders to assure quality patient care.

EMS care may be provided by a private ambulance company, fire departments, police departments, a public EMS agency, a private ambulance company, a hospital or by a combination of the above. EMS responders may be paid or volunteers in the community. top

What is a tiered EMS system?

Often EMS systems are "tiered." This means that different levels of providers may respond to a scene. In many EMS systems, it is common to have basic level EMS professionals (First Responders and EMTs) respond to a scene first. They are then followed by Advanced Life Support responders (paramedics). top

Why does a fire engine come on some Emergency Medical calls?

Many of the fire engines in the TEVAS district are equipped with much of the same basic equipment as the ambulance including cardiac defibrillator, oxygen, and splints. Fire equipment responds to all motor vehicle accidents and most potentially life threatening emergencies such as unconsciousness, heart attacks, respiratory difficulty, trauma and seizures. This crew can render aid at an emergency if they arrive prior to the ambulance and assist the ambulance crew as needed by performing CPR, assessing vital signs or preparing the patient for transport to the hospital. top

What is the difference between an "Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)" and a "Paramedic?"

An EMT is trained in basic life support emergency medical procedures such as CPR, oxygen therapy, splinting of fractures, spinal immobilization, bleeding control and the use of automatic defibrillators. A Paramedic is an Advanced EMT with additional training in advanced life support procedures such as cardiac rhythm interpretation, intravenous drug therapy, pharmacology, and advanced airway maintenance. top

Recently, I called 911. Why did an ambulance from a private company show up?

TEVAS has a mutual aid agreement with some of the local private services. During busy times when TEVAS EMS units are not available, private services may assist as needed. top

When do I call an ambulance?

Any time that you have any type of medical emergency. If you are ever in doubt, call 911. top

How much time does it take to volunteer?

Your time commitment will vary from week to week. On average, members put in five to twelve hours per week. Many put in more. top

I work full-time. Can I still volunteer?

Of course. If you have a full-time job, you can still volunteer and put your hours in during evenings and on weekends. top

I don't know anything about emergency medical service procedures. Can I still volunteer?

No problem! We'll train you to be a front line emergency medical service specialist. Best of all, it won't cost you anything. Thousands of dollars of valuable career training will be made available to you without any cost to you. We want you...not your money. top

Will I have any out-of-pocket expenses as a volunteer?

Very little ($3/year dues). Your training will be provided for free. top

How do I get started as a volunteer?

Call our squad number: 845-338-1788 or contact us via email (see the "contact us"
portion of this site). top

What are the requirements to join?

It is simple to become a member of the ambulance squad. top

Last updated: September 29, 2007