Erie County Emergency Services/EMS

The residency program is very involved in EMS/Prehospital Care. In addition to Erie County EMS, our involvement includes areas of research, administration, teaching and disaster planning. 

Erie County EMS, formerly the Special Operations Sector of the Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team (SMART) began with residents, EMS fellows and local EMS personnel augmenting the area’s emergency response system by providing on-scene medical control and the ability to provide advanced medical care not routinely done in the prehospital environment. It was created in 1996 by the Department of Emergency Medicine (Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo) in cooperation with the Erie County Medical Center and Erie County Emergency Services.

In October 2001, oversight of SMART moved from the Erie County Medical Center to the Erie County Department of Health while maintaining a continued close working relationship with the EM Residency and EMS Fellowship programs. Also at this time, the mission was expanded to include preparation and response for potential Bio-Terrorism threats, pandemic flu and emerging diseases, and other emergencies. The roster of SMART members has continued to expand and includes over 400 volunteers from throughout the eight counties of Western New York in addition to Public Health and EMS officials.

In 2016, the physicians of the Special Operations Sector became the primary operational component of the newly-formed Erie County EMS.

Through Erie County EMS, residents have an opportunity to gain training and experience in Tactical/Operational Medicine. We work closely with SWAT from multiple area police departments. These include the Buffalo Police Department, Erie County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI. Residents learn through didactic lecture and practical experience. During the EMS rotation, residents respond to a variety of local SWAT missions with EMS Faculty or Fellows.  Further opportunities also exist through the EMS track of the residency.

For incident response, we utilize two Chevy Tahoes and two Ford Explorers equipped with emergency warning devices (lights & siren), communications equipment, a global positioning satellite navigation system, and all necessary and specialized medical equipment (e.g., chest tubes, defibrillator, central IV lines, advanced airway management equipment, medications, etc.) A full complement of personal protective equipment (e.g., turnout gear, jumpsuits, body armor, etc.) is also stocked on the response vehicle for use by the team members. The primary response consists of a minimum of one physician (EMS Fellow, EMS resident, or EMS attending) and a representative from Erie County Emergency Services, EMS Division.

Some typical Erie County EMS activities are to:

  • provide on-scene triage during prolonged or unusual incidents (e.g., disasters, MCI)
  • provide advanced/specialized patient care during unusual incidents (e.g., disasters, building collapse, patient entrapment, MCI, etc.)
  • provide on-scene medical direction during prolonged or unusual incidents (e.g., disaster, MCI)
  • serve as an additional component of the Erie County Disaster Response Team
  • provide specialized tactical emergency medical support to federal (i.e., FBI) and local SWAT teams during routine operations and training missions
  • provide medical direction, medical support and patient care assistance during community/civic events throughout Western New York (e.g., New Era Field events, festivals, etc.)
  • provide prehospital educational opportunities to the emergency medicine residents
  • provide a means of conducting advanced prehospital care research

Erie County EMS is available for response 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Requests for a response should be directed to Erie County MERS Control (716-898-3696) who is responsible for dispatching the team. All services rendered are provided to patients at no charge.