Administration and Leadership

2009 JEMS 200-City Survey

Issue 2 and Volume 35.

Mr. Hernandez is shoveling snow outside when a pain in his chest overwhelms him. He’s had this pain before, but never this bad. He drops to his knees and clutches his fist to his chest, unable to speak. His wife hurries over to see what has happened and finds that something is very wrong. It’s obvious he needs immediate help, so she runs inside and calls 9-1-1. 

Mr. Hernandez is reflective of thousands of calls to 9-1-1 received today across the U.S. Up until this moment, most patients never consider what they expect or need from emergency services. All they know is what they see on TV: We are quick to arrive and we save them all. As taxpayers and citizens of the community, they assume you’re that service. That you are ready to respond and will fix the problem. Is that a safe belief?

For more than 25 years, the JEMS 200-City Survey has queried the most populous cities in the U.S. hoping this sample will provide insight into current practices and emerging considerations. Over the years, one trend has been clear: Although emergency services have incrementally changed, EMS organizations continue to struggle to provide the core service and improve performance. 

In this year’s survey, we’ll trace Mr. Hernandez’s EMS path and attempt to show how U.S. cities should be prepared to serve him. Drawing from the self-reported data, you’ll learn from this single call how systems are or aren’t meeting their responsibility. For some of you, it may not be a surprise, but hopefully, for many, it will be an eye opener and rekindle your interest in meeting your patient’s needs.