Ambulance services may be private for-profit enterprises, private non-profit entities, municipally run, or volunteer services. In addition, ambulance service licensure is available at the Basic (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS) – Intermediate, Advanced Life Support (ALS) – Paramedic, and Critical Care Service levels.
EMS does not exist in isolation, but is integrated with other services and systems intended to maintain and enhance the community’s health and safety. EMS operates at the crossroads between health care, public health and public safety.
Since EMS providers work in the community, they are often the first to identify public health problems and issues. The emergence of significant health problems is often heralded by its arrival in the Emergency Department and it arrives via EMS. Since EMS providers respond to all kinds of emergencies and all kinds of hazards, they often work shoulder-to-shoulder with public safety colleagues in law enforcement and fire services. But their primary mission is emergency medical care.
The Central Medical Emergency Direction (CMED) center coordinates notification and dispatch of required agencies and resources, including notification of hospitals. The Northeast EMS Region III CMED center, located at the Lawrence General Hospital, is the communications link between ambulances and hospitals, providing an effective communications system for EMS field operations, on-line medical control and management of mass casualty/disaster incidents in Region 3. (Please see http://www.neems.org/cmed.html for further details.)
Local public health departments are notified in events where a public health threat exists. CMED is a resource that will be used to assist the Region 3 HMCC, but it will not take direction from the Region 3 HMCC.
In Region 3, there are 73 EMS organizations at last count.