This report is an attempt to look at the policy issues facing Austin EMS as it adjusts to the changing needs of the city and surrounding region. It also represents an effort to look inside Austin EMS through the eyes of those who work with it and for it. The bulk of my information comes from interviews with more than 50 paramedics, firefighters, managers, administrators and other officials connected with EMS, conducted between September 1999 and April 2000. A complete list of sources is included in Appendix A.
It is my sincere hope that any reader of this report will take it in its intended spirit. It is an effort to explore the inner workings of EMS by an outsider with no pre-existing agenda other than a sincere interest in the subject. The quotes and anecdotes throughout this report were offered to help with an honest portrayal of the organization, not to sow division within the organization or the entities that work with it. I have tried to give all parties the chance to tell their side of the story, and I would hope that none will be judged harshly for their participation. All opinions not expressly attributed are my own, and any mistakes are mine as well. Thanks to all who have helped in the process if nothing else, I think it makes a good read.