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Research Letter
October 2017

Emergency Medical Services Response Times in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Areas

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, CEP-America/Presence Mercy Medical Center, Aurora, Illinois
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • 3Emergency Care Coordination Center, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
  • 4Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
JAMA Surg. 2017;152(10):983-984. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.2230

Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel in the United States respond to an estimated 37 million 911 calls annually, providing care to the sick and injured, but the initial link in the chain of survival includes family, friends, and bystanders.1 A collaborative effort between emergency care and emergency management experts within the US government recently led to the development of a public education campaign titled Until Help Arrives (https://community.fema.gov/until-help-arrives). Spearheaded by the US Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Health & Human Services, this initiative seeks to empower laypersons to provide care to the ill and injured until EMS personnel arrive. While there is an unavoidable delay between a 911 call and EMS arrival, to our knowledge, no current published data exist to quantify these time frames. This study seeks to describe the interval between receipt of a 911 call and the arrival of the first EMS unit on the scene of a reported emergency in the United States.

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