The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), which was conceived during a meeting sponsored by the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT), in Columbus, Ohio, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. In 1975, only nine state EMT organizations existed, and representatives from all of them-Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, Tennessee and Illinois-attended that meeting. They decided a national organization would be a good idea and, thus, the NAEMT was born.
The organization started out as a confederation of state organizations, with A. Roger Fox from Oregon serving as the first president. Up until 1979, NAEMT membership was open only to NREMT members. That year, the restriction was lifted. Anyone who was state-registered could now join NAEMT.
Among the organization's early successes was the launch of the first scientific journal for EMTs by EMTs. The first issue of the EMT Journal came out in March 1977. It was published quarterly.
NAEMT continues to grow and evolve. As it does, it works to improve EMS. For example, when the American College of Surgeons launched the advanced trauma life support course in 1987, NAEMT asked if paramedics and EMTs could take it. They were told no, but the college helped NAEMT develop a similar course for EMS providers. The course became PHTLS (Prehospital Trauma Life Support).
State organizations have their place, but can't wield the influence NAEMT does on a national level. National politics are how the big issues are addressed. NAEMT's 20,000 members banding together can move the agenda ahead, says Paul Maniscalco, NAEMT president from 1990-1992. He urges members to become involved. "You don't have to serve on a committee-though you could; there's enough work to go around-but you could become engaged. Make an investment in your future."
For more information about NAEMT, visitwww.naemt.org.
About the Author
Ann-Marie Lindstrom, a regular contributor to JEMS, writes primarily about EMS- and health-related subjects.