Cross-Border EMS Treaty Demonstrates Value of Multi-National Collaborations

JEMS internationalThis October, the governors of Lower Austria (Dr. Erwin Proell), South Bohemia (Mgr. Jiří Zimola) and South Moravia (Dr. iur. Michal Hasek) signed a contract for cross-border EMS operations. This contract is just the beginning of future EMS and dispatch cooperation between the Czech Republic and Austria.

The importance of this contract and daily, cross-border cooperation between the three nations was shown just hours before the contract with South Moravia was signed, when a Czech biker was involved in an accident on the Austrian side of the border. Because the biker’s cellphone was still logged in the Czech GSM network, the emergency call was routed to a Czech dispatch center.

Cross-border cooperation allowed the Czech dispatcher to inform 144 Notruf Niederoesterreich (the EMS dispatch center of Lower Austria), and a Czech ambulance was sent to Austria. An Austrian unit with a doctor on board was also dispatched to the accident by the Austrian dispatch center. After medical treatment on scene, the biker was handed over to the Czech ambulance and transported to a Czech hospital.
During recent years, borders and checkpoints inside the European Union have disappeared. Due to historic development, most of the border regions are economically underdeveloped and the network of the EMS systems in these regions is not very tight-knit because of the low population density. During the daytime, most ambulance vehicles are working to capacity due to scheduled trips to hospitals in the center regions, so only a few of them stay in the border areas.

cross-border EMS operations

Christof Constantin Chwojka, the CEO of 144 Notruf Niederoesterreich, and Siegfried Weinert pose with the state treaty allowing cross-border EMS operations. Photo 144 Notruf Niederoesterreich

To better support the people in the border regions, Austria and the Czech Republic signed a state treaty to perform cross-border EMS operations. Often, a state treaty only regulates the political intent of two countries. The 144 Notruf Niederoesterreich emergency dispatch center was commissioned by the Lower Austrian government to negotiate all necessary agreements with Czech EMS and dispatch providers for uncomplicated, easy-to-access, daily cross-border EMS operations.

For more information about the details of this multi-national EMS operations treaty, don’t miss this educational session at EMS Today 2017–Cross Border EMS Operations: From State Treaty to Operational Business as Usual–How to Solve Language Barriers in Daily EMS Cross Border Operations. The session will be hosted by 144 Notruf Niederoesterreich special projects manager Siegfried Weinert MSc, EMT-I, and  medical director Susanne Ottendorfer MD, BBA.

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Siegfried Weinert, MSc, EMT-I, has served as a volunteer paramedic with Austrian Red Cross for more than 30 years. He's been involved in the education of paramedics, served as a consultant for rescue services and published EMS-related books. He holds an MSc degree in emergency and public health. He can be reached at  and on Facebook.

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