Montgomery County Regional EMS Council is a Division of the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety and the EMS Division was organized in 1988, after the original Southeast PA EMS Council was dissolved to give each County a more direct role in providing EMS programs to their residents.
Montgomery County is 483 square miles and it contains urbanized centers such as Norristown, Pottstown and Lansdale, large suburban communities to the east and extensive tracts of farms and woodlands to the west. With a population of over 826,000, Montgomery County has a higher population than four individual states. It contains a complex array of highways including many miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the largest shopping mall in America at King of Prussia, Valley Forge National Park, a casino, and the Limerick (Nuclear) Generating station. There are also eight acute care hospitals, including two trauma centers.
Montgomery County EMS works closely with many planning and coordinating agencies that are aligned in the five county area; including but not limited to, Delaware Valley Regional Planning, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation-Regional Traffic Management Center), the Urban Area Homeland Security Task Force and the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania.
Montgomery County works on behalf of all citizens and visitors to the county to ensure that EMS personnel, agencies and ambulances are adequately equipped and prepared to provide the best out-of-hospital emergency care possible. As the liaison for the Commonwealth we are responsible for inspecting ambulances, providing education and technical assistance, and administering certification exams. We also conduct investigations, provide clinical expertise with our Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) and coordinate with our hospitals to ensure quality care. We work closely with our elected municipal officials to conduct planning and coordination to improve our EMS system, including special events planning and emergency operation center activations during natural and man-made disasters.
Clinical excellence is fostered by the Montgomery County Medical Advisory Committee (MAC). Recently the MAC conducted two pilot treatment studies and received approval from the State MAC and Bureau of EMS to implement these in the State treatment protocols. The Ketamine study involved EMS agencies from multiple counties and regions, all coordinated and completed under the Montgomery County team. The ability to conduct local meetings with over 20 physicians in one room ensures that we continue to coordinate a top notch program with physician input.
Programs established before and after 2001 have enhanced our capabilities to respond to threats including terrorism. We have strengthened our capabilities to include careful coordination and cooperation with 9-1-1 telecommunicators, emergency management and preparedness, hospitals and public health. EMS today is at the crossroads of public safety, public health and emergency management and is responding to new and emerging threats such as disease outbreaks, and intentional acts of violence including mass gathering injuries, and active threat-active shooter incidents.
Our ambulance strike teams have responded to hurricanes including Katrina, Gustav, and Sandy to name a few. Our in county emergency assets include capabilities with multiple mass casualty incident equipment a medical surge equipment cache, and a casualty collection point mobile response trailer that enhances our abilities to respond to major incidents.
We know that “All disasters are local”, so too is all “EMS is local”, the ability to live and work side by side with our responders enables the Montgomery County EMS office to interact, coordinate and cooperate with many stakeholders. This interaction leads to the strength of the EMS System development and improvement. This includes the regular interaction with municipal elected officials and ambulance officials.