Few people realize that modern emergency medical service has only been around for the past 70 years. This is the timeline of EMS from the very beginning when mankind started to provide pre-hospital care and its progression through the years. First Aid goes back to 1099, The St. Johns Knights were medically trained Knights that would render aide in the battle fields.
11th Century – 1900’s – Ambulance’s were horse draw.
1816 – Stethoscope invented.
1863 – Sphygmomanometers was invented.
1865 – America's first ambulance service is instituted by the U.S. Army.
1869 – America's first city ambulance service (utilizing horse drawn carriages) is instituted in New York City by Bellevue Hospital.
1870 – Prussian siege of Paris used hot air balloons to transport wounded soldiers. This was the first documented case of aero-medical transportation.
1881 – Red Cross was founded.
1898 – Sphygmomanometer redesigned to be more accurate in blood pressure readings.
1899 – Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago began to operate an automobile ambulance which was capable of speeds up to 16 mph.
1905 – A Russian Surgeon Nikolai Korotkoff developed method of using Stethoscope to listen to blood movement through arteries.
1916 – Military started using the Model T as a ambulance in WWI.
1928 – Julien Stanley Wise implemented the first rescue squad (Roanoke Life Saving Crew) in the nation in Roanoke, VA.
1940's – Prior to World War II, hospitals provided ambulance service in many large cities. With the severe manpower shortages imposed by the war effort, it became difficult for many hospitals to maintain their ambulance operations. City governments in many cases turned ambulance service over to the police or fire department. No laws requiring minimal training for ambulance personnel and no training programs existed beyond basic first aid. In many fire departments, assignment to ambulance duty became an unofficial form of punishment.
1947 – First Defibrillator developed and built by Claude Beck and James Rand.
1951 – Helicopters began to be used for medical evacuations during the Korean War.
1956 – Dr. Elan & Dr. Safar developed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
1956 – Paul Zoll helped develop a more powerful defibrillator.
1959 – Researchers at John's Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD developed the first portable defibrillator as well as a perfected CPR.
1960 – Los Angeles County Fire Chief Keith Klinger proudly announced that every engine, ladder and rescue company in his department was equipped with a resuscitator. His department is believed to have been the first large department to adopt uniformly medical emergency responsibility.
1966 – Dr. Pantridge in Belfast, Ireland, started to deliver pre-hospital coronary care using ambulances. His research showed that his program significantly improved patient survivability in out-of-hospital cardiac events.
1968 – St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City started this nation's first mobile coronary care unit; the program first used physicians, then paramedics.
1968 – The American Telephone and Telegraph starts to reserve the digits 9-1-1 for emergency use.
1968 – In Virginia, The Virginia Ambulance Law is passed and establishes the state's authority to regulate ambulances, verify first aid training, and issues permits.
1969 – The Miami, Florida Fire Department started the nation's first paramedic program under Dr. Eugene Nagel. The very first out-of-hospital defibrillation occurred shortly thereafter (the patient survived and left the hospital neurologically intact).
1969 – In Seattle, Dr. Leonard Cobb at Harbor View Medical Center teams up with the Seattle Fire Department and creates Medic I. Medic I is a Winnebago, (called "Mobi Pig" by the firefighters manning it), based at the hospital and is dispatched only on cardiac related calls.
1970 – The Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad in Charlottesville, VA starts the nation's first volunteer paramedic program under Dr. Richard Crampton. One of their first patients was President Lyndon Johnson, who suffered a heart attack while visiting his son-in-law Chuck Robb at UVA.
1971 – The television show Emergency! debuted. Emergency contributed to changed public attitudes concerning the fire service and emergency medical care. At the start of the show, there were only 12 medic units in the entire country. Four years later at least 50% of the population of this country was within 10 minutes of a medic unit.
1972 – The Department of Transportation and Department of Defense team up to form a helicopter evacuation service.
1972 – In Seattle, Medic II is instituted. Medic II is a program to train 100,000 citizens in CPR. Harbor View Medical Center starts up the nation's most intensive training program for paramedics. The course is 5,000 hours long, compared to 3,600 hours a medical student endures to become a doctor.
1973 – St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver starts the nation's first civilian aero-medical transport service. (The program was called "Flight for Life").
1973 – The EMS Systems Act (public law 93-144) is passed by Congress, which funds 300 regional EMS systems.
1973 – The Star of Life is published by the DOT.
1973 – The EMS Systems Act (public law 93-144) is passed by congress, which funds 300 regional EMS Systems
1975 – The American Medical Association recognizes emergency medicine as a specialty.
The University of Pittsburgh & Nancy Caroline MD, is awarded a contract to develop the first nationwide paramedic training course.
1975 – The National Association of EMT's is formed.
1978 – Phoenix Fire Department implements paramedic engine companies.
1980 – The National Registry of EMT's published its first national standard exam for EMT-Intermediate.
1981 – Direct funding of EMS systems by the Federal Government is replaced by block grants.
A study shows that 73 percent of all American fire departments, career and volunteer, are involved in some level of EMS service.
1981 – In Salt Lake City, Jeff Lawson, MD, comes out with an emergency medical dispatcher program and priority dispatching.
1990 – The Trauma Care System Planning & Development Act is passed by Congress.
1990 – Fire Department organizations join together in a resolution to expand into EMS.
1993 – It is proposed that EMT-P's assume an expanded role in primary care of non-emergent patients by learning expanded skills.
1995 – Los Angeles City Fire Department institutes EMT Assessment & Paramedic Engine companies.
1996 – New York City EMS is absorbed by FDNY.
1997 – San Francisco and Chicago institute paramedic engine companies.