News & Events


National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) Honors Nine Veterans of Freedom House Ambulance in Pittsburgh

June 6, 2024

June 6, 2024 (Falls Church, Va.) The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) celebrated the Legacy of Freedom House Ambulance on May 15, 2024, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More than a half-century ago, the paramedics of Freedom House Ambulance became trailblazers as they were trained to perform advancedlevel care in the streets by the father of CPR, Dr. Peter Safar. These African American men and women recruited from and serving the racially segregated Hill District of Pittsburgh were essentially the nation’s first paramedics. Read More

NASEMSO to Host Freedom House Pioneers at Annual Meeting

February 13, 2024

The National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) to honor the Pioneers of Freedom House Ambulance at Annual Meeting.

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February 14, 2024 (Falls Church, Va.) The National Association of State Emergency Medical Services
Officials (NASEMSO) is honored to host the pioneers of Freedom House Ambulance at the NASEMSO Annual Meeting, May 1216, 2024,in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The groundbreaking ambulance service operated in Pittsburgh from 1967 to 1975, setting the standard for emergency medical services (EMS) today. The nation’s first paramedics were Black men recruited from and serving the racially segregated Hill District of Pittsburgh. Several of these individuals who still walk among us will be honored at a special luncheon on May 15 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.

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NASEMSO Publishes Article in COSSUP Newsletter

November 1, 2023

The Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Use Program (COSSUP) featured an article in its October 2023 Catching up with COSSUP publication entitled Coordinated Opioid Recovery begins with Emergency Medical Services in Florida. Written by NASEMSO Program Manager Mary Hedges, the piece describes how EMS agencies are responding to persons with substance use disorder through community paramedicine programs and countywide teams involving detox, mental health, addiction, and medical care. Read More

Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Student Minimum Competency Model Guideline

August 17, 2023

NASEMSO has released a model guidance document that provides recommendations to state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and territory Emergency Medical Services (EMS) offices and Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) Program Directors for verification of student minimum competencies (SMC). Read More

“State EMS Offices Respond to the Opioid Epidemic” Published by COSSAP

March 30, 2023

NASEMSO has partnered with the Center for Health and Justice (CHJ) at the Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) to support and publicize efforts of the EMS community in tackling the overdose crisis. The partnership has resulted in the production of informative briefs and nationwide webinars reaching audiences not familiar with the role of EMS and their capabilities in responding to the addiction epidemic. As a result of this partnership, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) published a March 2023 article on its resource page titled, State Emergency Medical Services Offices Respond to the Opioid Epidemic.  This resource outlines several approaches undertaken by state EMS offices in collaboration with local EMS agencies to address the problem at its core. In addition, NASEMSO co-produced a webinar with COSSAP titled, How EMS is Impacting the Lives of Overdose Patients in North Carolina. In this webinar, State EMS Medical Director Dr. Tripp Winslow describes the EMS medication-assisted “bridge” programs developed in several countywide EMS agencies.

For more information about NASEMSO’s engagement in opioid and SUD response, contact Mary Hedges at and/or visit the Opioid and SUD Ad Hoc Committee.

NASEMSO Announces a New Cooperative Agreement Project

March 23, 2023

The National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) is excited to announce the start of a new cooperative agreement project, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Emergency Medical Services, to take critical, initial steps to improve the safety of children transported by ambulance.

This 15-month project will focus on drafting crash test methodology intended to evaluate the safety of commercially available devices used to secure children in the back of an ambulance.  Test methods will be drafted for three unique transport situations:

  1. supine pediatric patients (i.e., laying on their back on an adult sized cot);
  2. seated pediatric patients or child passengers; and
  3. supine neonatal patients.

This project is the first phase of a three-step process to develop, validate, and publish these three new child restraint test methods. This project will be completed collaboratively with industry experts (product manufacturers and ambulance builders), EMS clinicians, crash test laboratories, and federal and state partners. Once the test methods have been drafted, NASEMSO hopes to support the next phase of the project: crash testing of pediatric restraint devices currently available in the U.S. market. When funded, the crash testing phase will be used to both validate the draft test methods and evaluate existing and newly designed pediatric transport products.

The Technical Project Lead is Jim Green, who recently retired from his role on a related multi-year research project at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The NIOSH-led collaborative project drove dramatic improvements in EMS clinician and adult patient ambulance crash safety. Green will utilize a similar approach in the effort to improve child safety in ground ambulances. NASEMSO support is provided by Rachael Alter (Project Manager) and Adrienne Wilson (Project Coordinator).

For more information, contact Rachael Alter at

NASEMSO Program Manager Kathy Robinson Publishes an Article in Science Direct

March 22, 2023

NASEMSO is proud to announce that Kathy Robinson, program manager, is a co-author of the article, “Leadership and Trauma-Informed Care: Working to Support Staff and Teams.” The article was published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing in Science Direct. The other co-authors is AnnMarie Papa DNP, RN, CEN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN. The concept of “trauma-informed care” as a paradigm in public health and human services has evolved over the past 30 years. Can trauma-informed practices be used as a leadership tool to help address staff/colleagues as they grapple with the concerns associated with a complex health care landscape? Trauma-informed care shifts the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” This powerful approach to addressing stress might help set the stage for caring and meaningful interactions among staff and colleagues before exchanges become fraught with blame and unproductive or toxic impacts on team-based relationships.

Results of EMS Fatigue Study Now Available

January 25, 2023

The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) along with its partners at the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are pleased to announce that the results of the experimental study on fatigue in EMS has been published in Sleep Health, the official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. “The Emergency Medical Services Sleep Health Study: A cluster-randomized trial” supports the hypothesis that tailored sleep health education improves sleep quality and fatigue among EMS workers. Sleep Health is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary journal that serves as the foremost publication for manuscripts that advance the sleep health of all members of society. We are extremely grateful to our expert panelists, all study participants, and our organizational partners in EMS for their input and support throughout the project, which officially concluded in 2022. NASEMSO’s web site at continues to display all project materials and links related to these efforts. Thanks to generous support from Pitt, the manuscript is available as an open access article at

NASEMSO Annual Meeting to Feature Author and Central Figure of American Sirens, the Story of Freedom House Ambulance

December 7, 2022

A person sitting in a car Description automatically generated with low confidenceThe NASEMSO Annual Meeting 2023, June 11-15, in Reno, Nevada, will feature paramedic and author, Kevin Hazzard, who will share his gripping account of Freedom House Ambulance as told in his latest book, American Sirens. What’s more, Freedom House paramedic John Moon, who is believed to have performed the first endotracheal intubation in the field, will be a guest of honor. He will join Hazzard to share the remarkable story of a largely forgotten group of Black men in Pittsburgh who became America’s first paramedics. Due to the vision of Dr. Pater Safar, the courage of medical director Dr. Nancy Caroline, and the determination of a group of unlikely individuals who in 1967 had been recruited off the inner-city streets in Pittsburgh, Freedom House Ambulance broke ground in EMS when they demonstrated how paramedics could perform advanced medical skills with the right training and support. Recently featured on Good Morning America, Hazzard and Moon share snippets of the birth of modern EMS.

The clip from Good Morning America: How 24 Black Men Became the Country’s First Paramedics

For more information about the NASEMSO Annual Meeting 2023, click  here.

South Carolina EMS featured in COSSAP Newsletter for Innovation in Responding to Opioid Epidemic

November 15, 2022

The South Carolina Bureau of EMS and Trauma was one of the early pioneers among state offices of EMS in developing innovative programs to address the opioid crisis. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) recently featured a story recognizing the state’s early and sustained efforts. Following earlier naloxone-related initiatives such as their Law Enforcement Officer Narcan (LEON) and the Reducing Opioid Loss of Life (ROLL) program for firefighters, the EMS Bureau developed the Community Outreach Paramedic Education (COPE) program in 2019. COPE Teams are made up of a specially trained paramedic, a peer support specialist or professional addiction counselor and if available a law enforcement officer from the LEON program. Their goal is to visit an overdose survivor during the critical window for intervention following an overdose event (typically within 72 hours) to provide educational materials and a “warm handoff” to drug treatment and peer support.  For more information about South Carolina’s overdose initiatives, contact Arnold Alier, EdD, NRP at Read more in More Than Naloxone: Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Combats Substance Use Disorder in South Carolina.

In 2021, NASEMSO created the Opioid and Substance Abuse Disorder Committee to share EMS best practices in response to overdose patients.  For more information about the committee, visit NASEMSO Opioid & SUD Committee