New USFA Handbook Supports EMS Medical Directors

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is alerting its members, and particularly those with EMS oversight responsibility, to the release of the Handbook for EMS Medical Directors (pdf), issued by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs (DHS OHA). The new resource, developed by the IAFC under a cooperative agreement with the federal agencies, provides an overview of key roles and responsibilities to assist current and prospective medical directors in performing their life-saving missions.

“EMS medical directors are an essential component in local-level emergency response,” said Dr. Alexander G. Garza, DHS assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer. “Their critical oversight and medical direction ensure that patients receive effective emergency medical care—a vital part of this nation’s homeland security.”

The resource was written for physician medical directors of local departments and agencies who are involved in emergency medical services (EMS) response. It covers topics ranging from occupational health and safety to liability issues.

The IAFC’s process for developing the document followed the organization’s successful collaborative model, with many national-level EMS and fire organizations contributing to the handbook’s development.

In addition to providing medical oversight and direction, EMS medical directors support EMS personnel and other first responders through training, protocol development and resource deployment advice.

“The IAFC and its EMS Section were pleased to work in partnership with the USFA and DHS OHA in this project to support medical directors who are crucial to the effective delivery of EMS throughout this country,” said Chief Al Gillespie, IAFC president and chairman of the board.

The Handbook for EMS Medical Directors is part of the EMS research initiatives developed by the U.S. Fire Administration.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs 
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.

About the IAFC Emergency Medical Services Section
The IAFC EMS Section is a forum that addresses EMS issues for the leadership of America’s fire and emergency service, provides guidance and direction to the IAFC board and membership and represents fire-based EMS issues to the federal government and other EMS partners.

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