Pinellas County: A National Pilot Site for the American Heart Association
To meet the emergency medical needs of more than one million residents and visitors, Pinellas County employs a unique all paramedic, first response and ambulance system of Advanced Life Support (ALS) emergency care and patient transportation.
Pinellas County is on the leading edge of emergency medical care, and has become the model for EMS providers throughout Florida and around the world.
System History & Design:
In 1980, a Special Act of the Florida Legislature (Chapter 80-585) created the Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Authority. The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners serve as the EMS Authority.
The Special Act prescribed a countywide referendum to propose the creation of a countywide tax and Emergency Medical Services System. The referendum passed with the citizens overwhelmingly supportive (81% in favor) of creating a Countywide EMS system.
In the late 1980’s Fire and EMS dispatch was consolidated, followed quickly by the centralization of 9-1-1 operations into a Countywide system.
The current EMS System, termed a “Public Utility Model”, is a sophisticated design that strives for clinical excellence with effective cost containment. It is a performance-based model that employs stringent performance requirements and response time accountability for all ALS First Responder agencies and the Ambulance Contractor.
The system is designed to provide exceptional rapid response and on scene patient care by Paramedics staffing Advanced Life Support (ALS) First Responder Units from municipal Fire Departments and Fire Districts. Transport and continued patient care is provided by Paramedics staffing ALS Ambulances provided by Sunstar Paramedics.