The Star of Life
The blue "Star of Life" symbol was designed for
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
(exit DHS) (NHTSA)
in response to the need for a uniform
symbol representing the emergency medical services system. The Staff of Asclepius
represents "Medicine and Healing". For EMS the six barred cross represents the
six system functions:
Although some restrictions apply, the "Star of Life" can
generally be used for emergency medical care services purposes.
The History of EMS in Wisconsin
The states EMS Unit was created in 1968 under the leadership
of Joseph Salzmann. Originally, this group of dedicated staff coordinated all EMT training
in the state, with local physicians and other professionals providing the training. While
training was not mandated by law until 1974, a large number of ambulance attendants
completed the 81-hour DOT-approved course voluntarily.
In 1969, the first nationally recognized training course for EMTs was
held in Wausau, Wisconsin as a test site for the new DOT curriculum. The physician
coordinator, Joseph D. Deke Farrington was an EMS pioneer from Minocqua. Among
his accomplishments, he promoted the use of extrication, invented the spine board and was
responsible for the original 81-hour curriculum developed by Dunlap & Associates. He
also encouraged many other physicians to become involved in EMS.
The most recent impetus for EMS improvements followed a report from the
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (exit
DHS) (NHTSA). A NHTSA technical
assistance team audited EMS in Wisconsin, formed an evaluation and listed several areas
for improvement. This document led to the establishment of a Legislative Council Special
Committee to review EMS in 1992. Their deliberations led to important legislative actions
during the 1993-1994 legislative session, including the formation of the EMS
EMS Physician Advisory Committee and the appointment of a State Medical
Director. It also
led to the creation of new personnel being identified for the EMS Unit, recognized as
the states lead EMS agency.
Wisconsin has a proud history in the evolution of EMS. The future holds
new challenges for prehospital EMS in Wisconsin, including new levels of care, additions
to approved treatments and medications at the various levels of care, etc.
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May 21, 2012