VISION: Rural Volunteer EMS: Reports from the Field by Victoria Freeman, RN, DrPH, Stephen Rutledge, Michael Hamon, Rebecca Slifkin, PhD (September 2010).
Prehospital emergency care services (EMS) are an essential component of a comprehensive health care system. Rural residents and visitors to rural areas rely on EMS for treatment and transport in the event of an injury or other health emergency. In many areas where the number of emergency calls is too small to support a full-time paid EMS service, volunteers are the mainstay of prehospital emergency care.
Reports that rural volunteer EMS is threatened appear frequently in local newspapers and online news sources. Surveys have also documented the difficulties in maintaining viable EMS. This report explores the current state of rural EMS by surveying 49 local rural directors from all-volunteer services in 23 states.