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Emergency Medical Services


About EMS

Modern EMS in Tennessee was created by state legislation in 1972.  This law authorized the training of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and mandated the creation of standards for ambulances and medical equipment. The Office of EMS was formed to coordinate training and certification of EMTs, implement ambulance licensing standards to include vehicle inspection and permitting and plan EMS system development. An EMS Advisory Council was established to advise the Department of Health on EMS policy and regulations.

In 1973 legislation mandated the training and certification of Paramedics. In 1977 legislation authorized the creation and management of a statewide system of EMS radio communications. This completed the legal authorization for the initial development of Tennessee’s EMS system.

In 1983 the EMS Advisory Council and the Department of Health sponsored legislation to create the state EMS Board. The legislation passed and the first EMS Board in the U.S. met in June of 1983. The Board is comprised of thirteen persons appointed by the Governor. It is authorized to establish all EMS rules and to serve as an appeals body for cases the Department brings against EMS providers.

Since 1983 the Board has regulated the EMS system through a consensus process involving several standing and ad hoc committees. EMS providers thereby have input into the rules that govern EMS.

Today the EMS Office, operating under the rules of the EMS Board, oversees a statewide EMS system comprised of thousands of Paramedics and EMTs who work for 210 ambulance services that operate 1,300 ambulances that make more than 1,000,000 patient transports annually.

Office of EMS
665 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, TN  37243
Fax: 615-741-4217

Health Professional Boards

The mission of each board is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring those who practice health care professions within this state to be qualified.