Newsroom > DHHS News Release

May 15, 2012
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356
Emergency Medical Services – A Vital Link in Saving Lives
May 20-26 is National EMS Week
Sound bites on this topic will be available shortly at:
Lincoln - Nebraska’s Emergency Medical Services personnel provide critical care when seconds count.  They’re only a phone call away any time of day and are the medical safety net within communities.
Nebraska has 7,469 licensed EMS workers across the state.  More than 80 percent of them are volunteers.
“This is stress at its highest. They’re on the frontlines and the actions they take can mean the difference between life and death,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “It takes a special type of person who can go through the elation of saving a life and the sadness of losing one and come back and start all over again the next day. These folks care about the people in their communities and we thank them for their dedication.”
Nebraska EMS personnel responded to 164,733 calls last year. More than 13,000 calls involved children. 
“When there’s a child in distress, it’s important for first responders to have the proper equipment and training to handle the situation. Dealing with children is a little different than dealing with adults. Children are smaller and many times there’s actually more than one victim, the child plus his/her parents.  That’s why we’ve made pediatric education a priority,” said Dean Cole, DHHS EMS Program Administrator.
DHHS provides life-like mannequins so EMS workers have hands-on training for child-related emergencies.  Pediatric training workshops on child emergencies and trauma are offered across Nebraska. DHHS is also working with Children’s Hospital in Omaha on specialized pediatric training for both basic and advanced life support.
In addition to pediatric training, DHHS’ EMS program continues to help train EMS personnel statewide. DHHS provided funding for 459 training sessions last year on scenarios like ATV accidents, sports injuries, farm emergencies, traumatic brain injuries, school bus accidents, and hoarders (confined space rescue).  More than 7,500 people attended.
For the EMS children’s educational video produced by DHHS, go to
You can find more information on Nebraska’s EMS program at