By Benjamin Podsiadlo
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed persistent, wide-ranging existential threats to effective 911 emergency response.
The EMS (Emergency Medical Services) system, which sits at the intersection of emergency medicine and public safety, is the out-of-hospital component of the acute care health care system. The EMS mission is targeted at identifying, responding, assessing, treating, and entering suddenly ill and injured patients in the community into the health care system.
The EMS system’s viability is entirely dependent upon the capacity of its workforce of EMTs, paramedics, and 911 EMS telecommunicators to respond 24/7/365.
The devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on EMS include: severe damage to workforce sustainability; grossly insufficient logistical resourcing; and further erosion of cohesive system identity.