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EMS for Children

District of Columbia EMSC Logo

The EMSC program supports improvements in the quality of pediatric medical care to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality resulting from severe illness or trauma. This federal initiative evolved out of a growing recognition that children have unique needs in emergency situations, which often vary from those of adults due to physiological, developmental, and psychological differences. The program is federally-funded to expand and improve emergency medical services for children in each state.

Since its establishment in 1984, the EMSC has improved the availability of child-appropriate equipment in ambulances and emergency departments. Through grants to states and territories, it supports hundreds of programs to prevent injuries and provides thousands of hours of training to Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), Paramedics, and other emergency medical care providers.

Support for the EMSC Program led to legislation mandating EMSC programs in several states and the development of educational materials to cover every aspect of pediatric emergency care.

EMSC in the Nation’s Capital

Children’s National Medical Center is an ideal location for the District of Columbia EMSC program due to the expertise and data that rests within the emergency department and local response system. Proximity to policy makers, related advocacy groups and national organizations are added benefits. EMSC has an ongoing relationship with the DC Department of Health. This partnership successfully revised the pre-hospital pediatric protocols to reflect a state-of-the-art standard of care adapted to the needs of the nation’s capital. The DC EMSC program facilitates direct and indirect pediatric medical oversight for pre-hospital care through updated protocols and education courses such as PALS (Pediatric Advance Life Support).

District of Columbia EMSC

The District of Columbia’s current EMSC grant, “Operational Capacity, Training Maintenance, and EMSC Permanence in the District of Columbia” aims to:

  • Assess specific performance measures related to the District’s operational capacity to provide appropriate and effective pediatric emergency care, including on-line and off-line medical direction, pre-hospital ambulance equipment and supplies, hospital recognition process, and inter-facility transfer agreements.
  • Promote and monitor the adoption of requirements for pediatric education for Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advance Life Support (ALS) field providers.
  • Advocate for and monitor the established permanence of education and protocolization of EMSC in the District’s EMS system.
  • Establish EMSC permanence in District of Columbia statues/rules.

Model Protocols

DC’s EMSC developed a model set of pre-hospital protocols for children with special healthcare needs. These protocols will be published as a national model for EMS protocols.

Children with Special Healthcare Needs

The program developed a Special Children's Outreach and Pre-hospital Education (SCOPE) curriculum, which educates pre-hospital medical providers on tools, techniques, and orientation to the special needs of medically complicated children. The EMS Outreach program is in the process of updating its registry to enhance the linkage of parents and caregivers with children with special healthcare needs (CSHCN) medical information with local EMS providers to ensure that their needs are better met in the context of a medical emergency.

Additional Information

The Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) National Resource Center (NRC) was established in 1991 to help improve the pediatric emergency care infrastructure throughout the United States and its territories.

The EMSC- NRC web site houses more than 100 free downloadable publications [link to http://www.childrensnational.org/EMSC/PubRes/] on pediatric emergency medical care. Publications of interest include:

Service Contact: 
Emergency Medical Services Division of the Department of Health - HEPRA
Contact Phone: 
(202) 671-4222
Contact Fax: 
(202) 671-0707
Contact TTY: 
711
Contact Suite #: 
Suite 300
Office Hours: 
Monday to Friday, 8:15 am to 4:45 pm