NPS Essentials: Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

“The service will make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate EMS for persons who become ill or injured” (NPS Management Policies, 2006, Section

Emergency Medical Services vary greatly from unit to unit. NPS units that are close to urban areas may be an agreement with the local EMS providers who would then respond to emergencies within the park. In remote locations, it is more likely that parks will have their own EMS staff and equipment in order to reduce response time and increase effectiveness.

In any unit of the NPS, park staff are likely to be the first responders to an EMS incident. All NPS staff are encouraged to have training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as well as basic first aid, whether they work in the field or in an office setting. A staff member with EMS in their job description may require more advanced EMS skills, training, and certifications in accordance with the individual park unit’s EMS needs.

For those whose position does not require a particular certification level, but who decide to be trained in CPR/AED or other levels of care, the employee and supervisor should discuss the scope of the employee’s responsibilities.

Regardless of training, every NPS employee has the ability and responsibility to activate EMS by recognizing the need for medical attention, and calling for help when necessary (this can be as easy as calling 9-1-1). EMS preparedness is essential, not only for the protection of visitors, but also for Park Service employees.

Key Concept

Regardless of the position held, all NPS employees play an important role in ensuring the proper care of those who may become sick or injured in NPS units.

Points to Consider

  • Are you aware of your local “Good Samaritan” statutes?
  • Have you had any emergency medical training? What is your current certification level and what level of training does your position require?
  • Have you had a conversation with your supervisor to clarify his/her expectations regarding your involvement with EMS?

If there is anything in this section that is unclear pertaining to your duties, please ask your supervisor for further clarification.

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