New EMS rule adopted at November meeting

The adoption of Rule 157.49 in November 1999 by the Board of Health established standards for implementing emergency medical dispatch systems in Texas. Based on provisions in a law passed by the 76th Legislature, the new rule sets the criteria for EMD course approval, creates a new EMS certification category for EMD Instructor, and establishes the requirements for the development of the Protocol Reference System to be used by the dispatchers.

Q: Does this mean that EMD certification will now be required for all 9-1-1 operators and EMS dispatchers?

A: No. The law does NOT make EMD certification mandatory for dispatchers. It does, however, provide immunity for a public service dispatcher from civil liability as long as the dispatcher is certified in EMD and follows the proper protocols when providing pre-arrival emergency medical instructions to callers.

Q: Is the Department of State Health Services now certifying emergency medical dispatchers?

A: No, we are not certifying dispatchers. We will be certifying instructors of dispatch training courses, or more correctly, EMS operator instructors. Click here for the rule on Emergency Medical Information Operator and Operator Instructor Training and Certification 157.49.

Q: What is required for EMS information operator instructor certification?

A: You must: 1) be at least 18 years old; 2) hold a high school diploma or GED certificate; 3) hold certification as an EMS information operator; 4) have a written agreement or verified affiliation with an EMS provider, a licensed health care facility, an institution of post secondary education, a law enforcement agency, a fire department, a public emergency dispatch agency, or other public safety agency; 5) have completed, within one year prior to application, a department-approved EMS information operator training or hold EMS Instructor certification; and, 6) pass an EMS information operator instructor written examination administered or approved by the department.

Q: How much is the EMD Instructor certification fee?

A: The fee for EMD Instructor certification is $60, unless the instructor does not receive remuneration for providing EMD training. A fee increase, which will affect only initial applications, is expected to begin November 1, 2004.

Q: I recently completed emergency medical dispatch certification. Will I be required to take a DSHS dispatch course if I want to apply for EMS operator instructor certification?

A: Not necessarily. If the training you completed is nationally recognized, e.g.. National Academy of EMD, PowerPhone, APCO, NCI, etc., DSHS will accept it.

Q: Is the EMS information operator instructor certification a life-time certificate or will there be steps for renewing the certification?

A: The DSHS EMS information operator instructor certificate is valid for two years. There is a renewal process. See the Emergency Medical Information Operator and Operator Instructor Training and Certification '157.49 on our web site.

Q: How long is the EMD training course for dispatchers?

A: The EMD training course requires a minimum of 24 hours of didactic and practical training.

Q: What criteria is DSHS using for the emergency medical dispatch course?

A: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, EMD National Standard Curriculum is the minimum criteria. Contact your local regional office for specifics on DSHS EMD course approval.

Q: What protocols have been approved for dispatch of medical information?

A: DSHS will approve protocols that are substantially equivalent to the Emergency Medical Dispatch Protocol Reference System (PRS) and are approved by a physician who is providing medical direction. The PRS is referenced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the EMD National Standard Curriculum.


Last updated February 11, 2016