EMT is turning 50 years old in 2019!!

Did you know that the EMT role was first standardized in the late 1960’s? A paper commonly known as the “1965 white paper” was delivered to then President Richard Nixon. It demonstrated a number of concerning issues including:

  • In 1965 the most common cause of death in the first half of life came from accidental injury.
  • More people died from car accidents in 1965 alone than in the entire Korean Conflict.
  • A soldier in a war zone was more likely to survive trauma than a civilian in the city.


In 1965 there was no such thing as an “Emergency Room.” There was also no 911 or standardized ambulance service/training to get injured patients to the hospital!

Did you know that the first 911 call was made in 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama?

The first residency program to train ED MDs wasn’t until 1972! Prior to this, injured patients were typically brought to the rear of the hospital and admitted directly to a room by an MD with admitting privileges. Obviously there was quite a difference between then and now in terms of EMS and integration into the US health system.

The “1965 white paper” made several recommendations, including standardization of emergency training for police and fire. Out of this paper was born the first curriculum for EMT-A in 1969. It wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that the advanced EMT-P, or paramedic, role was created with work done by Walt Stoy, PHD and Nancy Caroline, MD.

It has been a long journey from 1969 to present… from the days of converted hearse ambulances to modern Sprinter Diesels. If you’d like to make history yourself, consider becoming an EMT with Project Heartbeat at our EMT academy. We offer 4 week boot-camp type courses as well as semester long courses for those with more time or needing more flexibility. Give us a call to talk with Eric Kim, our program director, at 510-452-1100.