Emergency service

Emergency service

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Emergency services are organizations which ensure public safety
Public Safety
Public safety involves the prevention of and protection from events that could endanger the safety of the general public from significant danger, injury/harm, or damage, such as crimes or disasters .-See also:* By nation...

 and health by addressing different emergencies
Emergency
An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or environment. Most emergencies require urgent intervention to prevent a worsening of the situation, although in some situations, mitigation may not be possible and agencies may only be able to offer palliative...

. Some agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ad hoc emergencies as part of their normal responsibilities. Many agencies will engage in community awareness and prevention programs to help the public avoid, detect, and report emergencies effectively.

The availability of emergency services depends very heavily on location, and may in some cases also rely on the recipient giving payment or holding suitable insurance or other surety for receiving the service.

Main emergency service functions


There are three main emergency service functions:
  • Police
    Police
    The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

    — providing community safety and acting to reduce crime against persons and property
  • Fire and Rescue Service — providing firefighter
    Firefighter
    Firefighters are rescuers extensively trained primarily to put out hazardous fires that threaten civilian populations and property, to rescue people from car incidents, collapsed and burning buildings and other such situations...

    s to deal with fire and rescue operations, and may also deal with some secondary emergency service duties
  • Emergency medical service — providing ambulance
    Ambulance
    An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

    s and staff to deal with medical emergencies


In some countries (e.g. the UK) these three functions are performed by three separate organisations in a given area. However there are also many countries where fire, rescue and ambulance functions are all performed by a single organisation.

Emergency services have one or more dedicated emergency telephone number
Emergency telephone number
Many countries' public telephone networks have a single emergency telephone number, sometimes known as the universal emergency telephone number or occasionally the emergency services number, that allows a caller to contact local emergency services for assistance. The emergency telephone number may...

s reserved for critical emergency calls. In some countries, one number is used for all the emergency services (e.g. 911 in the US, 999 in the UK). In some countries, each emergency service has its own emergency number.

Other emergency services


These services can be provided by one of the core services or by a separate government or private body.
  • Military — to provide specialist services, such as bomb disposal
    Bomb disposal
    Bomb disposal is the process by which hazardous explosive devices are rendered safe. Bomb disposal is an all encompassing term to describe the separate, but interrelated functions in the following fields:*Military:...

     or to supplement emergency services at times of major disaster, civil dispute or high demand.
  • Coastguard — Provide coastal patrols with a security function at sea, as well as involvement in search and rescue operations
  • Lifeboat
    Lifeboat (rescue)
    A rescue lifeboat is a boat rescue craft which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crewmen and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine...

    — Dedicated providers of rescue lifeboat services, usually at sea (such as by the RNLI in the United Kingdom).
  • Mountain rescue
    Mountain rescue
    Mountain rescue refers to search and rescue activities that occur in a mountainous environment, although the term is sometimes also used to apply to search and rescue in other wilderness environments. The difficult and remote nature of the terrain in which mountain rescue often occurs has resulted...

    — to provide search and rescue in mountainous areas, and sometimes in other wilderness environments.
  • Cave rescue
    Cave rescue
    Cave rescue is a highly specialized field of wilderness rescue in which injured, trapped or lost cave explorers are medically treated and extracted from various cave environments....

    — to rescue people injured, trapped, or lost during caving explorations.
  • Mine rescue
    Mine rescue
    Mine rescue is the very specialized job of rescuing miners and others who have become trapped or injured underground in mines because of mining accidents and disasters such as explosions caused by firedamp, roof falls or floods.- Expert volunteers :...

    — specially trained and equipped to rescue miners trapped by fires, explosions, cave-ins, toxic gas, flooding, etc.
  • Technical rescue
    Technical rescue
    Technical rescue refers to those aspects of saving life or property that employ the use of tools and skills that exceed those normally reserved for fire fighting, medical emergency, and rescue. These disciplines include rope rescue, swiftwater rescue, confined space rescue, ski rescue, cave rescue,...

    — other types of technical or heavy rescue, but usually specific to a discipline (such as swift water).
  • Search and rescue
    Search and rescue
    Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

    — can be discipline-specific, such as urban, wildland, maritime, etc.
  • Wildland fire suppression
    Wildland fire suppression
    Wildfire suppression refers to the firefighting tactics used to suppress wildfires. Firefighting efforts in wildland areas requires different techniques, equipment, and training from the more familiar structure fire fighting found in populated areas...

    — to suppress, detect and control fires in forests and other wildland areas.
  • Bomb disposal
    Bomb disposal
    Bomb disposal is the process by which hazardous explosive devices are rendered safe. Bomb disposal is an all encompassing term to describe the separate, but interrelated functions in the following fields:*Military:...

    — to render safe hazardous explosive ordnance, such as terrorist devices or unexploded wartime bombs.
  • Blood/organ transplant supply
    Organ donation
    Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation. Transplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure following a determination, based on the donor's medical and...

    — to provide organs or blood on an emergency basis, such as the National Blood Service
    National Blood Service
    The National Blood Service is the organisation for England and North Wales which collects blood and other tissues, tests, processes, and supplies all the hospitals in England and North Wales...

     of the United Kingdom.
  • Emergency management
    Emergency management
    Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disasters or catastrophes and to ensure the continuance of the...

    — to provide and coordinate resources during large-scale emergencies.
  • Amateur radio emergency communications
    Amateur radio emergency communications
    In times of crisis and natural disasters, amateur radio is often used as a means of emergency communication when wireline, cell phones and other conventional means of communications fail....

    — to provide communications support to other emergency services.
  • Hazmat
    Hazmat
    Hazmat, HazMat and similar terms can refer to:* Hazardous materials and items—see Dangerous goods** Hazchem—a system of hazardous chemical classification and firefighting modes** A hazmat suit is a type of protective clothing...

    — removal of hazardous materials
  • Air search providing aerial spotting for the emergency services, such as conducted by the Civil Air Patrol
    Civil Air Patrol
    Civil Air Patrol is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force . CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and...

     in the US, or Sky Watch in the UK.

Civil emergency services


These groups and organisations respond to emergencies and provide other safety-related services either as a part of their on-the-job duties, as part of the main mission of their business or concern, or as part of their hobbies.
  • Public utilities — safeguarding gas, electricity and water, which are all potentially hazardous if infrastructure fails
  • Emergency road service — provide repair or recovery for disabled or crashed vehicles
  • Civilian Traffic Officers — such as operated by the Highways Agency
    Highways Agency
    The Highways Agency is an executive agency, part of the Department for Transport in England. It has responsibility for managing the core road network in England...

     in the UK to facilitiate clearup and traffic flow at road traffic collisions
  • Emergency social services
    Emergency Social Services
    Emergency Social Services now becoming Emergency Support Services is a component of the Provincial Emergency Program of the Province of British Columbia. ESS are those services required to preserve the well-being of people affected by an emergency or disaster...

  • Community emergency response team
    Community Emergency Response Team
    In the United States a community emergency response team can refer to* one of five federal programs promoted under the umbrella organization Citizen Corps, which is funded in part by the Stafford Act;...

    s
    — help organize facilities such as rest centers during large emergencies
  • Disaster relief — such as services provided by the Red Cross and Salvation Army
    Salvation Army
    The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

  • Famine relief
    Famine relief
    Famine relief is an organized effort to reduce starvation in a region in which there is famine. A famine is a phenomenon in which a large proportion of the population of a region or country are so undernourished that death by starvation becomes increasingly common...

    teams
  • Amateur radio
    Amateur radio
    Amateur radio is the use of designated radio frequency spectrum for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication...

    communications groups — provide communications support during emergencies
  • Poison Control
    Poison control center
    A poison control center is a medical facility that is able to provide immediate, free, and expert treatment advice and assistance over the telephone in case of exposure to poisonous or hazardous substances...

    — providing specialist support for poisoning
  • Animal control — can assist or lead response to emergencies involving animals
  • Forest Service
    Forest Service
    Forest Service may refer to:* Canadian Forest Service* Indian Forest Service* New Zealand Forest Service* United States Forest Service* Forestry Commission in the United Kingdom...

  • St. John Ambulance
    St. John Ambulance
    St John Ambulance, branded as St John in some territories, is a common name used by a number of affiliated organisations in different countries dedicated to the teaching and practice of medical first aid and the provision of ambulance services, all of which derive their origins from the St John...

     / Red Cross / Order of Malta Ambulance Corps
    Order of Malta Ambulance Corps
    The Order of Malta Ambulance Corps is the largest voluntary ambulance and first aid organisation of its kind in Ireland. The Order of Malta is engaged in teaching first aid, providing ambulance cover at large events, patient transport, community and nursing services...

    — Medical & First Aid
    First aid
    First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-expert, but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care...

     Support

Location-specific emergency services


Some locations have emergency services dedicated to them, and whilst this does not necessarily preclude employees using their skills outside this area (or be used to support other emergency services outside their area), they are primarily focused on the safety or security of a given geographical place.
  • Park ranger
    Park ranger
    A park ranger or forest ranger is a person entrusted with protecting and preserving parklands – national, state, provincial, or local parks. Different countries use different names for the position. Ranger is the favored term in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Within the United...

    s — looking after many emergencies within their given area, including fire, medical and security issues
  • Lifeguard
    Lifeguard
    A lifeguard supervises the safety and rescue of swimmers, surfers, and other water sports participants such as in a swimming pool, water park, or beach. Lifeguards are strong swimmers and trained in first aid, certified in water rescue using a variety of aids and equipment depending on...

    s — charged with reacting to emergencies within their own given remit area, usually a pool, beach or open water area

Working together


Effective emergency service management requires agencies from many different services to work closely together and to have open lines of communication. Most services do, or should, have procedures and liaisons in place to ensure this, although absence of these can be severely detrimental to good working. There can sometimes be tension between services for a number of other reasons, including professional versus voluntary crew members, or simply based on area or division.

To aid effective communications, different services may share common practices and protocol for certain large-scale emergencies. In the UK, commonly used shared protocols include CHALET
CHALET
CHALET is a mnemonic indicating a protocol used by UK emergency services to report situations which they may be faced with, especially as it relates to major incidents....

 and ETHANE
ETHANE
ETHANE is a mnemonic indicating a protocol used by emergency services to report situations which they may be faced with, especially as it relates to major incidents, where is may be used as part of their emergency action principles....

 while in the US, the Department of Homeland Security has called for nationwide implementation of the National Incident Management System
National Incident Management System
The National Incident Management System is emergency management doctrine used nationwide to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response among the public and private sectors.NIMS is a comprehensive, national approach to incident management that is applicable at all...

 (NIMS)[1], of which the Incident Command System
Incident Command System
The Incident Command System is "a systematic tool used for the command, control, and coordination of emergency response" according to the United States Federal Highway Administration...

 (ICS) is a part[2].

See also

  • Civil Air Patrol
    Civil Air Patrol
    Civil Air Patrol is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force . CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and...

  • Civil defence
  • Common Alerting Protocol
    Common Alerting Protocol
    The Common Alerting Protocol is an XML-based data format for exchanging public warnings and emergencies between alerting technologies. CAP allows a warning message to be consistently disseminated simultaneously over many warning systems to many applications...

  • Disaster relief
  • Emergency management
    Emergency management
    Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disasters or catastrophes and to ensure the continuance of the...

  • Emergency medical service
  • Emergency service response codes
  • Emergency telephone number
    Emergency telephone number
    Many countries' public telephone networks have a single emergency telephone number, sometimes known as the universal emergency telephone number or occasionally the emergency services number, that allows a caller to contact local emergency services for assistance. The emergency telephone number may...

  • Incident response team
    Incident Response Team
    An incident response team or emergency response team is a group of people who prepare for and respond to any emergency incident, such as a natural disaster or an interruption of business operations. Incident response teams are common in corporations as well as in public service organizations...

  • Public safety
    Public Safety
    Public safety involves the prevention of and protection from events that could endanger the safety of the general public from significant danger, injury/harm, or damage, such as crimes or disasters .-See also:* By nation...

  • Rescue squad
    Rescue squad
    A rescue company is a public service organization that uses specialized equipment and knowledge to rescue people. There are two typical applications: squads that rescue trapped people, and squads that rescue people who are having medical emergencies....


Sources


[1] http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/AboutNIMS.shtm

[2] http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/IncidentCommandSystem.shtm