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The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, is pleased to provide this updated version of the Statewide ALS and BLS Protocols. The original version of the Statewide BLS took effective on 1 September 2004 and the ALS Protocols were introduced on 1 July 2007.


The Department of Health, Bureau of EMS, is pleased to provide these updated Statewide EMS Protocols to the EMS providers of Pennsylvania.

This 2013 update of the Statewide EMS Protocols focuses narrowly on:

a) improved care for sudden cardiac arrest;

b) updated trauma patient destination protocol for the addition of Level IV trauma centers and increased consistency with the 2011 CDC/ACS national trauma field triage guidelines; and

c) updated stroke protocols to be consistent with the listing of recognized primary stroke centers.

Recent advances have led to significant improvement in patient outcome from sudden cardiac arrest when EMS agencies have embraced a pit crew approach that focuses on CPR best practices. The Bureau of EMS, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project, has developed resources to educate EMS providers to these protocol changes.

This 2013 version of the statewide protocols may be used by EMS providers as soon as they are familiar with the updates, but all providers must implement these updated protocols by the effective date of July 1, 2013.

Several resources will be available to assist ALS providers in becoming familiar with the protocol updates. These include an in-service presentation that will be available to regions and agencies and educational information on the Learning Management System (LMS). All EMS providers should complete the course “High-functioning CPR Teams: Science Lecture” (BEMS course #006372) to familiarize themselves with these updates to cardiac arrest care. The optional related simulation-based hands-on course “High-functioning CPR Team: Pit Crew High-Fidelity Simulation" (BEMS course #006373) is recommended for providers within all EMS agencies.

The Department is committed to providing Pennsylvania’s EMS personnel with the most up-to-date protocols, and to do this requires periodic updates. The protocols will be reviewed annually, and EMS personnel are encouraged to provide recommendations for improvement at any time. Comments should be directed to the Commonwealth EMS Medical Director, Bureau of EMS, Rm 606 Health & Welfare Building, 625 Forster St., Harrisburg, PA 17120.