We often hear people referring to the term emergency services in various ways. In general, the term is used loosely because it covers a variety of different careers, facilities, and resources that deal with emergency situations. In in broadest definition, emergency services are organizations that are designated to address public safety and health in emergency situations. Some services address specific issues, such as poison control. Some services work to cover emergencies in general as a normal part of their day such as an emergency room filled with medical staff. Outside of dealing with emergencies, emergency services aim to bring community awareness and prevent to help the public avoid, detect, and report the possibility of or the occurrence of an emergency.

Main Functions

The main functions of emergency services fall under one of three categories:

  1. Law enforcement- whose purpose is to enforce the law, prevent crime, reach out to the community to assure them of safety, and write reports
  2. Fire departments- whose purpose is to protect life and property through fighting fires.
  3. Emergency medical- whose purpose is to respond to medical emergencies, provide transportation through ambulance services, and treat health related problems.

Across the world, emergency services are set up differently. In some areas, an individual will be trained to be available to provide all three of these services. In some places, one main facility houses individuals from each line of work. Regardless of how things are done based on where you are located, all emergency services have a universal connect to society, and that is 9-1-1.

Other Functions of Emergency Services

In addition to the main functions of emergency medical, law enforcement, and firefighting, there are a number of well-known organizations that handle emergencies.

  • Military- fight for our country, freedom, and provide additional aid in great disasters
  • Coast Guard- security at sea
  • Mountain rescue- emergency response in the wilderness environment
  • Mine rescue- trained and equipped to rescue miners trapped by fire, explosion, cave-ins, and flooding
  • Search and rescue- trained specifically to search all different terrain to rescue missing persons
  • Emergency management- coordinates and provides resources during large scale emergencies
  • Hazmat- trained in removal of hazardous material
Many cities and towns have their own civil services such as:
  • Disaster relief
  • Emergency social services
  • Poison control
  • Animal control
  • Red Cross

Additionally, there are also location specific emergency services such as lifeguards and park rangers.

Regardless what type of emergency a responder is trained to address, emergency services is a necessary part of our society. And, a career in any type of emergency services is an honorable and appreciated profession.