EMS Vitals, August 2018, DHSS Newsletter

August 2018  

EMS Vitals Masthead

Alaska EMS Provider,

I am pleased to share with you the first edition of the Alaska EMS Vitals Newsletter.  We have developed this newsletter in an effort to keep you informed of local, state and federal EMS changes and will be sending it out monthly.  So if you are receiving this Newsletter please share it with your colleagues!

You can sign up to receive future copies of EMS Vitals by providing your email address to us via this link

The State EMS Office appreciates the dedication and service you bring to your job every day. We see and hear about stories of lives saved and changed because of your hard work, so thank you. As we continue to improve the Alaska EMS system over the coming months and years we will need your help. It is not the work of just the State EMS Office, individual Regions, individual Agencies or individual Providers that change a system. It takes the concerted work of all of us together to move our system toward common goals. 

Our desire at the State EMS Office is to work closely with regions, agencies and providers to create a value based EMS system founded on evidence based medicine, and best practices in order to ensure the best patient care is delivered with the right resources at the right time.  

Please join us in our vision to move Alaska EMS Forward Together!


Todd McDowell, State Office EMS Manager



State EMS Regulations

2018 Public Response Package

The Office of EMS/ Division of Public Health/ Department of Health & Social Services response to public comment and record of public comment is available to read on our Alaska EMS webpage


Alaska Council on EMS (ACEMS)

EMS Governor's Awards

Accepting nominations now! EMS Award winners will be announced at the State EMS Symposium in November. Please submit your nomination online. All category descriptions, past winners, and downloadable nomination forms can be found on our Alaska EMS website under EMS Awards.  You can also email the nomination to EMSAwards@alaska.gov. This year's nomination deadline is August 31, 2018.


Task Force Recruiting

In anticipation of a future rollout of Alaska’s new scope of practice and the addition of the AEMT level. The Governor’s Alaska Council of EMS seeks certified State of Alaska Advanced Level EMS Instructors and subject matter experts to volunteer on a Task Force to assist with the following tasks:

  • Assist in developing an implementation strategy/process for the new State of Alaska EMS Scope of Practice as developed by the ACEMS Medical Director’s Committee and approved by ACEMS;
  • Review and recommend educational enhancements to the EMT-1, EMT-2, EMT-3, (proposed) Advanced EMT and Instructor certification levels; and

  • Develop, edit or amend documents such as the Guide for Education Certification and Licensure, national education learning objectives, and/or lesson plans that update instructors and providers to proposed standards and specifically 2018 State of Alaska EMS Scope of Practice.

To apply for the ACEMS Task Force or for further information please refer to the application which can be found here. All applications are due September 3, 2018.  


Medical Director's Corner

Letter from the State Medical Director

Greetings to all Alaska EMS Medical Directors, Administrators and Providers.

I would like to take the opportunity provided by the EMS Office Newsletter to give you a brief update on the Scope of Practice.

As most of you are aware the long-overdue revision of our EMS regulations and Scope of Practice (SOP) was posted for public comment and, guess what?  There were a number of comments!  The comments were constructive and informative for all of us at the State EMS Office. 

The SOP revision is the result of the work over the past two years of the ACEMS Medical Directors Committee (providing input to the EMS Medical Director) and is a significant change in direction from the SOP it will replace.  The basic premise is to formulate a SOP that works for Alaska, appropriately liberalizing some procedures and medications for given provider levels but with the requirement that additional training and oversight will be required. A final version of the SOP is forthcoming and will be similar to the posted version.  Please keep in mind that expanded scope will still be an option but we hope that this will safely provide an easier pathway to meeting the community’s needs.

Further important EMS updates will be addressed throughout the newsletter.  I hope that you find the information useful and informative as we embark on this journey of moving Alaska EMS Forward Together.

Thank you for all that you do.


Michael Levy M.D. FAEMS, FACEP, FACP                             State EMS Medical Director                                               Rural and Community Health Systems

Drug Shortages

There are rolling shortages of drugs and fluids in Alaska and nationwide. The persistence of this new normal is actually reflected in the proposed SOP revision where we now refer to a class of drug, in some instances as opposed to a specific drug when describing allowed medications.  For example “benzodiazepine” for seizure as opposed to “lorazepam” or “midazolam” since on a week by week time frame we do not know what will be available. There is gaining momentum at a national level to address this situation.  Although we abide by the manufacturers’ expiration dates, a quick web search will confirm your suspicion that many drugs’ potency far exceeds their “shelf life”.  The only current pathways to extend the usage is via the government’s Shelf Life Extension Program (typically for cached drugs for WMD) or from a manufacturer-directed extension. 

For the status of current drug shortages please visit the National Association of State EMS Officials website and follow the ASHP link under the Resources section. 


Read about Naloxone guideline development and dissemination here.

Education and Training

Save the date for the following educational opportunities:


Hale Borealis Forum

October 23-25, Dena'ina Center, Anchorage

The Hale Borealis Forum is a three day conference that brings together healthcare, EMS, emergency management, law enforcement, and other critical stakeholders, with a focus on health and medical emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The multi-agency, collaborative approach to health preparedness is reflected in this year’s theme: “Strengthening Whole Community Partnerships to Improve Healthcare Resiliency.”

For more information visit www.haleborealis.com.

NAEMSP Medical Directors Operations Course

October 26th, Frontier Building, Suite 100, Anchorage

This course will be tailored to address Alaska EMS practice and have faculty on behalf of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP). This course has been well-received nationwide and internationally. More details to follow.

Southern Region EMS Symposium

November 7-10, Egan Center, Anchorage 

Pediatric Clinical & EMS Tracks, Resuscitation Academy, Lessons from Libya: Care Under Fire, Burn Care: Long term EMS & Clinical, and more.

For more information visit Southern Region EMS Council online.

Resuscitation Academy

An intense one day RA will be offered during the Southern Region EMS Symposium with faculty from the Seattle RA associated with the Global Resuscitation Alliance.   Attendance will be limited so be on the look out for Southern Region's registration announcement coming soon!


EMS for Children (EMSC) Program

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) Emergency Pediatric Care (EPC) course was introduced to providers in early 2015 as a train the trainer course.

Thus far, the EPC train the trainer course has established approximately 20 EPC instructors from three EMS regions across Alaska. Providers should be seeing increased pediatric opportunities within their community as this project continues to roll out.

If you or your agency is interested in holding an EPC course please contact the EMSC Program for more information.


Provider Certification


December 31- Recertification for EMS Service and EMT 1

March 31 - Recertification for EMT 2, EMT 3, and Instructor

Login to your account here to recertify. 


Alaska EMS Certification Portal 

Please visit the Certification Portal, Alaska’s online EMS certification system. The Certification Portal allows you to submit applications, check the status of your application, manage your certification, search for EMS personnel and search for upcoming courses. 




The Alaska Uniform Response Online Reporting Access (AURORA) Elite, is the new state online reporting system for EMS providers. The State EMS Office uses this data for quality improvement initiatives throughout the state and uploads this data into the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS).

AURORA 2.0 users are currently transitioning to the AURORA Elite platform which yields NEMSIS 3.0 compliant data.  If your agency is still using 2.0 please contact your regional data manager.   

Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES)

The State EMS Office is excited to announce that we will begin reporting to CARES.

Out of hospital cardiac arrest is one of largest causes of death in adults in Alaska.  Nationwide there is huge variability in the survival, ranging from less than 5% to over 20% for all rhythms and when the arrest is witnessed and the initial rhythm was ventricular fibrillation, optimized systems have shown year after year 60% survival with good neurological outcomes whereas lesser systems still have only single digit success.  Good systems have one thing in common: they measure their systems and as they measure their systems they improve because they use the metrics to address shortcomings.  In other words, you can only manage what you measure. 

CARES (www.mycares.net) is currently one of the few nationwide standard entry platforms to detail the events associated with cardiac arrest starting with EMS dispatch information, followed by field information and ultimately hospital care and patient’s neurological status at discharge.  The EMS information will soon be able to be directly uploaded to the CARES network via Aurora Elite.



Upcoming Events

Alaska Council on EMS Meeting

October 5

Hale Borealis Forum, Anchorage

October 23-25

NAEMSP Medical Directors Operations Course, Anchorage

October 26

State EMS Symposium, Anchorage

November 7-10

EMS Community Corner

This is the community corner section where we are encouraging you to "Shout Out" to a fellow EMS member or service and recognize them for a job well done on a recent call, training or community outreach event. Please send your "Shout Out" to Renee Escamilla.


Important Deadlines

ACEMS Award Nominations

August 31

ACEMS Task Force Application

September 3

Service and EMT 1 Renewal

December 31

EMT 2 and 3 and Instructor Renewal

March 31, 2019

Quick Facts

Alaska EMS by the Numbers

EMT 1 Providers


EMT 2 Providers


EMT 3 Providers




EMS Agencies


Pediatric Medical Direction

ems directory

EMS Regions

Interior Region EMS

Maniilaq Association

North Slope Borough EMS

Norton Sound Health Corporation

Southeast Region EMS

Southern Region EMS Council

Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

Contact Us

Office 465-3140 

Certification 465-3029 

Training 465-8508 

Data 465-8634 

EMS for Children 465-5467 

State EMS Manager 465-8634