Every year, JEMS surveys EMS organizations in the 200 most populous U.S. cities. The 2003 200-City Survey offers greater detail in operational and functional variances among EMS agencies across the nation. This will enable managers and EMS system leaders to compare their practices to those of agencies serving the most populous cities in the United States. Additional tables and summaries of comparative analyses this year help to illustrate performance differences among the many organization types.
Every effort was made to include each organization that provides some level of EMS to each city. The response rate was 17.32%. Although a larger sampling would be desirable, this sample size is adequate to project findings and draw reasonable conclusions. This presumption is supported by consistency in data trends within this survey, as well as between the 2003 and previous years' surveys. Respondent anonymity is maintained in this report, and the information presented here is in summative form of the data collected.
Geographical coverage areas varied considerably. The average coverage area for the agencies surveyed is 289.3 square miles. Many agencies (41% of the first response agencies and 69% of the transport agencies) extend their coverage area outside the metropolitan city. The average total population served by the survey respondents is 394,403, with the highest exceeding 8 million. Forty-three percent of the respondents have primary responsibility for more than one community, with an average number of communities for which they are responsible at almost nine.
As in previous years, fire departments are the dominant agency type in the delivery of first response. More than 98% of the first responder agencies are fire departments. Other first response organizational types and their distribution are: third-party providers (9.1%), hospital-based (3.5%), public utility model (3.5%), private not-for profit (3%) and volunteer (2.2%).