EMS Standard Operating Procedures

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Standard operating procedures (SOPs) allow an organization to standardize its practices and procedures under a single policy. The purpose is to ensure its employees deliver services effectively and efficiently. EMS stands for emergency management system. It includes the police, fire fighters and other first responders that assist in disaster relief and recovery operations. Because EMS providers are responsible for the health, safety and well-being of patients, citizens and other public safety personnel, an SOP helps coordinate service delivering among different providers.

Provider Requirements

SOPs include various sections. Each section pertains to policies for a different function within the EMS and sometimes only applies to a particular group of providers (i.e., emergency care, police). For example, provider requirements may include requiring EMT first responders to carry a semiautomatic defibrillator at all times. In addition, provider requirements may mandate the emergency call system to document a plan for dispatching emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks or ambulances. It may entail certain requirements of drivers of emergency vehicles, such as a valid driver’s license and clean driving record. The section also may include a system for collecting consumer feedback on quality of care delivered by emergency medical technicians (EMTs). In general, this section outlines the requirements of staff charged with performing specific functions related to emergency management.

Vehicle Operation and Staffing

SOPs of this sort must often contain a section for disabled vehicles and the procedures for how to address staffing issues. For example, it may include the protocol for labeling a police car or ambulance “out of service.” It may also involve creating a scheduled vehicle maintenance schedule for police cars. The section may include appropriate staffing ratios to ensure health and safety of patients.

Training and Certification

SOPs generally provide staff training and certification requirements. These policies most often cover all staff that provides emergency management services. It also includes protocols for the treatment of patients and authorized personnel permitted to administer care. This section is usually completed separately by provider unit (i.e., fire fighters, EMT and the police) as each unit is responsible for a different role in emergency response situations.

Adminstration of Patient Care

Because emergency responders deal directly with patients, it’s common for SOPs to list the responsibilities of each provider in meeting patient’s needs. For example, this section typically includes policies for administering care, maintaining patient privacy, ensuring certain safety practices and the process for notifying a medical facility upon a patient’s arrival of their medical condition. Moreover, this section sometimes outlines the policies for guaranteeing the protection of public safety officials in dealing with patients and citizens affected by trauma. For example, using rubber gloves and wearing masks or glass shields when assisting a patient as well as the proper sanitizing methods for sterilizing transport vehicles to prevent the spread of disease.

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