The idea of providing emergency medical care to sick or injured people in a prehospital setting is a relatively new one. Mortuaries and funeral homes provided the 1st prehospital emergency care in the form of transport only. The patients received no treatments or care, only transport.
The 1st major changes in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), as it has become known, came in the Vietnam War. It was the combat physicians who noticed that the care soldiers received in the field often saved their lives. This care was provided by corpsman who were trained to provide lifesaving treatments and care for injured soldiers. This was done in an attempt to prolong their lives until they could be treated in a hospital setting. This thought carried over into the development of the modern day EMS systems.
The premise behind these systems is to provide life saving treatments to sick or injured citizens in their homes and in an ambulance on the way to the hospital (an extension of the physician). The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) was placed in charge of regulating and controlling this new field of prehospital medicine. The first thing the DOT did was to specify the curriculum, in this new field of prehospital medicine (in 1970), that people were to complete in order to be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's). Different levels of training and certification were also developed. These levels became known as EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and the highest level, EMT-Paramedic.
EMT-Basics are able to perform basic airway maneuvers, bandaging, splinting, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and provide oxygen.
EMT-Intermediates are able perform the above, as well as starting IV's and administration of a limited amount of medicines.
EMT-Paramedics are able to perform all of the above, as well as advanced airway skills (endotracheal intubation, cricothyrotomy, chest decompression), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), and administer an extensive amount of medications (including pain management).
The City of Boulder City approved the Boulder City Fire Department Paramedic Program (with the support of the community) in 1997. This move completed the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations for improving survival outcomes of cardiac arrest victims in our community.