Emergency Medical Services

The City of Buffalo and surrounding communities provide significant opportunities for emergency medicine residents to learn about emergency medical services (EMS) and EMS systems.

Resident in helicopter.

Much of this training occurs during the EM2 year where all residents spend a month on the combined EMS/Toxicology rotation. During the month, residents respond as part of the primary Erie County EMS (ECEMS) response.

The goal of the EMS rotation is to provide the resident with an overview of:

  • EMS administration
  • Prehospital operations, quality improvement and education
  • Disaster operations

The goal is not to make an EMS Medical Director out of the resident; it is impossible to do this in one month. Rather we hope to foster an appreciation of the EMS environment and a good working relationship with area EMS providers. During the EMS/Toxicology rotation, residents drive one of the department's four emergency response vehicles and respond to mass casualty incidents, patient entrapments, major incidents at the Buffalo/Niagara International Airport, and other medical incidents where physician expertise is needed. Erie County EMS also provides on-scene medical services for several SWAT teams in the Buffalo area.

It augments local EMS resources for large public gatherings such as festivals and concerts throughout the year. Prior to driving the ECEMS vehicle, all residents receive formal training in emergency vehicle operations. During the EMS rotation, the emergency medicine resident will interact with a variety of emergency medical services personnel. Resident activities during the EMS rotation will include the following:

  • completing an inventory of the equipment on the assigned Erie County EMS vehicle
  • attending the Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee meeting with the EMS fellow
  • doing two ride-alongs with American Medical Response, one of two local private ambulance companies in Buffalo
  • flying with Mercy Flight, a local air medical helicopter service, for 1 or 2 twelve-hour shifts (while flying with Mercy Flight is encouraged, performance of this activity is not mandatory for this rotation)
  • taking EMS calls in the city of Buffalo in the Erie County EMS vehicle with the EMS Fellow or one of the EMS attending physicians
  • a shift with Buffalo Fire Department Rescue 1 — this unit is used for special rescue situations and responds to all confirmed structure fires in the city of Buffalo, and many residents consider this to be the best experience of their EMS rotation (and a great firehouse dinner!)
  • assisting in skills verification sessions for EMS providers
  • observing in the Erie County Medical Emergency Radio System (MERS) dispatch center; this allows the resident to learn the basic principles of emergency medical dispatch (EMD)
  • responding to requests for Erie County EMS
  • staffing special events for medical care (e.g. Buffalo Bills football games)
  • completion of several online FEMA and US Fire Academy courses

The emergency medical services rotation at our emergency medicine residency allows the emergency medicine resident to experience the whole realm of EMS systems in the Buffalo area. If you have any further questions concerning the EMS rotation at UB, please do not hesitate to contact us.