Use of EMS Personnel as Intelligence Sensors: Critical Issues and Recommended Practices
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The use of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel as information collectors to support Terrorism Early Warning Groups (TEWGs) and other intelligence fusion centers is advocated by academic papers, professional journals, and best-practice documents. However, intelligence fusion centers are not integrating EMS personnel into their information collection systems, due to strategic concerns about medical confidentiality, EMS professional issues, and society's expectations of medical personnel. This article analyses these issues, describes the development of an EMS information collection program, and presents a model EMS information collection protocol. EMS participation in information collection programs is not without risk or consequences, and may be contrary to society's expectations of EMS professionals. When considering such a program, sponsoring organizations should secure a legal review and follow a methodical implementation process. For the long term, the EMS, intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, and medical communities must maintain a dialogue and develop consensus on the strategic consequences of this practice.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (September 2007), v.3 no.3
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