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How did we get here?

Learn more about the history of EMS with our selected writings, facts and figures below.

AMERICAN SIRENS: The Incredible Story of the Black Men Who Became America's First Paramedics (excerpt)

"Beyond their duties, paramedics represent an ideal. An assurance from society, backed by money, that human lives are sacred and will be saved anywhere and everywhere they’re in danger. Society has often shrugged its burden and reneged on the deal. America pretended the burden didn’t exist until 1965. But it’s always been there."

Read more from Kevin Hazzard's book, which clearly spells out our history and gives a window into why our field has fallen behind through cyclical budget cuts and a general lack of interest in progressing the field, below.

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More History: Get Involved

Facts & Figures


The number of federal agencies that are uniquely tasked with overseeing and supporting EMS.


The percentage less that EMTs make in salary compared to the average employed American.


The estimated number of EMS agencies that currently operate nationwide.


The average turnover rate in EMS, often accredited to dissatisfaction with wages, benefits, and lack of upward mobility in the field. (The national average is 18%.)

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