This week marks the 43rd annual National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. The theme, EMS Strong: Always in Service, aptly describes what it means to be in the emergency medical services community. When people call for help, EMS professionals are ready to run toward chaos and crisis to bring hope to people on what is often their worst day.
Looking back at any major natural or manmade disaster that has mobilized the greater Homeland Security Enterprise—the EMS community has always jumped into action to respond. They lead the charge on making the homeland resilient at the community level—in each city, town or home.
This week recognizes that heroic work—and the value it brings to the fabric of our communities across America. We at S&T recognize the contributions of the men and women in emergency medical services, and we’re here to help them—to bring them solutions that get them to the scene safely and quickly, or enable them to provide lifesaving treatment in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
But emergency response can be complex and has a tremendous amount of variety from big cities to rural communities. S&T is here to look at those complexities.
For example, getting to an incident can bring risks to responders in the back of an ambulance. S&T, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), EMS responders, and industry have teamed up for the past several years to develop and publish ambulance patient compartment design safety standards and related guidance. This week, NIOSH released a series of videos that highlights this work and how it’s helping the response community.
S&T is also looking to the private sector to bring solutions to EMS personnel that we know they need—because we’ve talked with them to understand their struggles and capability gaps. Just a few months ago, we held an Industry Day and shared current solicitations for things like navigation and warning systems, and the capability to integrate public data feeds into current decision making and resource allocation tools.
Thinking about how we can solve these challenges is a great way to recognize the work that EMS professionals take on each day. If you’re a tech developer, I encourage you to visit our Broad Agency Announcement page to learn more about what solutions could help in this field.
On the research end, we are funding projects that study a broader spectrum issue that can impact EMS professionals, called telephony denial of service, or TDoS, attacks that flood 911 call centers with malicious calls, preventing valid callers from getting through. We currently have two projects that are addressing the growth of attack sophistication, frequency, call volume and complexity of call-number spoofing so we can understand how to prevent these attacks.
As we recognize the men and women in EMS who are keeping our communities resilient when crises strike, I hope you’ll consider how we can help them do their jobs safely and effectively.