Emergency medical services (abbreviated EMS in some countries) are a type of emergency service dedicated to providing out-of-hospital acute medical care, transport to definitive care, and other medical transport to patients with illnesses and injuries which prevent the patient from transporting themselves. Emergency medical services may also be locally known as a paramedic service, a first aid squad, emergency squad, rescue squad, ambulance squad, ambulance service, ambulance corps, or life squad.
The goal of most emergency medical services is to either provide treatment to those in need of urgent medical care, with the goal of satisfactorily treating the presenting conditions, or arranging for timely removal of the patient to the next point of definitive care. This is most likely an emergency department at a hospital. The term emergency medical service evolved to reflect a change from a simple system of ambulances providing only transportation, to a system in which preliminary medical care is given on scene and during transport. In some developing regions, the term is not used, or may be used inaccurately, since the service in question does not provide treatment to the patients, but only the provision of transport to the point of care.