The EMS Checklist -- It’s a simple tool with a lifesaving purpose.
Emergency medical service has grown in complexity. Today’s EMS providers have access to better research, equipment and medications, but they also have more to remember. EMS checklists are a simple tool they can use on the street to assure they’re correctly applying their knowledge and expert skills on every patient.
Checklists are already successfully used in other industries where safety is paramount, such as surgery, nuclear energy and aviation. In the fire service, we’ve used checklists for years at fire scenes. Deputy Chief Shaughn Maxwell and Dr. Richard Campbell, our medical director, worked together to develop a series of checklists that would apply the same concept to improve EMS patient care.
The EMS checklists are based on extensive research where science has demonstrated key EMS treatments can make a lifesaving difference: heart attacks, strokes, asthma, trauma, seizures and heart failure. The checklists highlight critical areas of care to promote consistent and reliable application of best practices, regardless of the variables found on each emergency scene.
“It takes an expert to execute the checklist and our firefighters are incredible. If you don’t have expert firefighters, the checklist is just a list on a piece of paper,” Maxwell explained. “The checklists assure our EMS experts consistently apply these key interventions -- every time for every patient.”
The checklists are another tool they can use. The checklists highlight critical areas of care to promote consistent and reliable application of best practices, regardless of the variables found on each emergency scene