EMS/Rescue Section Meets in Alexandria, VA

NVFC and NAEMT sign partnership agreement

The National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) EMS/Rescue Section met in Alexandria, VA, on May 2 to hear reports from the Section Officers and discuss old and new business. At the meeting, representatives of the NVFC and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) signed an agreement through which each organization will appoint a representative to serve as liaison to the other organization. NVFC and NAEMT also agreed to offer discounted membership to each others’ members and to work together collaboratively on issues of mutual interest.

Section Chairman Ken Knipper reported on projects he is representing the Section on, including work on pre-hospital evidence-based guidelines, EMS surge capacity during major disasters, Model EMS Clinical Guidelines that are being developed by the National Association of State EMS Officials, a traffic incident management project through the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the federal government’s Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking. Section Vice Chair Juan Bonilla gave an update on his work with the Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates. Ben Chlapek, the NAEMT representative on the Section Executive Committee, provided an update on EMS on the Hill Day and working to make it easier for military veterans to transition EMS skills and certifications to become domestic EMTs.

EMS standards were also a major topic of discussion at the meeting. NVFC representatives serve on the NFPA 1917: Automotive Ambulances, NFPA 450: Emergency Medical Services, and NFPA 473: Standard for Competencies for EMS Personnel Responding to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents Technical Committees. The NVFC was also recently invited to participate in the development of another ambulance standard that is being established by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS).

The NFPA 1917 document is currently in revision and the Ambulance Committee received 622 public inputs to consider for its first draft revision of the standard. The EMS Technical Committee met recently to discuss a proposal to develop a document on Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH). The Committee has asked the NFPA Foundation to fund a research project on MIH and will consider developing a MIH document for fire departments. The 2013 edition of NFPA 473 updates and clarifies the roles of BLS and ALS during hazmat incidents, including how to treat smoke inhalation. Section Chairman Ken Knipper attended the first meeting of the CAAS committee that will develop the standard. Knipper will continue to monitor the CAAS project but declined to serve as a voting member on the committee.

MIH was also discussed outside of the context of the conversations relating to standards. MIH, which is also sometimes referred to as “Community Paramedicine”, is an effort to deploy EMS resources in a non-traditional fashion to provide better and less-costly patient care. There was discussion at the Section meeting about the fact that many MIH strategies, including using EMTs to deliver health care services in non-emergency settings and transporting patients to medical services providers other than hospital emergency departments, have been going on for years but that as a result of health care reform, EMS providers are now finding hospitals more willing partners. There was also discussion about impediments to MIH, including opposition from health care providers who see it as competition, the fact that there is no federal reimbursement for MIH services, increased training and certification requirements for providers, state regulatory and legal challenges, and the “bedside manner” of EMS providers.

For more information about the Section meeting, contact Dave Finger, Director of Government Relations, at dfinger@nvfc.org. Section members can receive a copy of the meeting minutes upon request.