Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services
Special Programs

Community Outreach Program and Education

Pittsburgh EMS has always kept caring for the residents of Pittsburgh as a number one priority. Now we are doing more than ever to not only maintain the highest level of care, but to reach out to our communities to help stop a medical emergency before it begins and to train the public how to act if they find themselves in a position to help someone in need. It is our belief that by participating in events throughout the City, we can educate and prepare our residents and make our city a safer place for everyone.

The COPE Initiative is comprised of a group of Paramedics that together provide Health Screenings, CPR/AED Training, Car Seat Safety Checks and more. We have been able to provide pieces of apparatus for "show and tell" events at local neighborhood gatherings, schools and Boy Scout camps. If your group is interested in making a request for CPR/AED or an appearance by our personnel please contact us at COPE RequestsSend Email.

As paramedics our profession demands that we overcome uncertainty in the course of saving lives. If the patient is unable to provide us with information about themselves or their ailments, it impedes our efforts and wastes valuable, life saving time. By participating in our Envelope of LIFE program, this allows everyone, at any age, to eliminate these uncertainties.

The Envelope of LIFE is a standardized form that provides life saving information to emergency personnel in times of crisis or medical uncertainty. The form is easy to fill out and takes only a few minutes to complete. The completed form should be placed on your refrigerator to be easily located by EMS. It should be updated every six months or following any changes in medical history or medications.

Possessing information is the key to successfully saving lives. The Envelope of LIFE provides Paramedics with vital information that can help save your life and it gives you the enduring comfort of knowing that you have one less thing to worry about.

The Envelope of LIFE is available as a downloadPDF File from this website or it can be requested from EMS Headquarters at 412-622-6930.


Yes! From one to 100 years old, the Envelope of LIFE benefits every age.

For children, the Envelope of LIFE is a must for when they are away from home. The form lists all the information about your child (toddlers and teens alike) that any appointed guardian would need, including aunts and uncles. From the babysitter to your child’s school, the Envelope of LIFE affords you a peace of mind when you’re not at their side.

As for adults, most of whom are caring for their children, elderly parents or both, the Envelope of Life is a safety net in times of crisis. If something happens to the person holding the family together, what happens to the family? No one schedules an emergency, and they usually happen when life is at its most hectic. By taking just a few minutes now to fill out an Envelope of LIFE form, you will be giving yourself the advantage in an emergency and will also help in making a difficult time much easier for your family.

For seniors, the Envelope of LIFE offers the comfort of having your vital information available whenever it is needed, much like a live-in assistant. It provides a voice for you when you can not speak for yourself, telling emergency responders your specific medical needs. The detailed questionnaire asks the most important questions that healthcare workers need to know about you, leaving nothing to be presumed, saving you precious moments in a life-threatening event.

The Envelope of LIFE works only if Paramedics can find it!

Pittsburgh EMS recommends that the completed Envelope of LIFE be placed on the outside of your refrigerator, to be easily located by emergency responders. Using refrigerator magnets fold the forms in half, (making the City of Pittsburgh Envelope of LIFE logo visible) and affix them to the front panel.

If you have a stainless steel finish on your refrigerator, affix the Envelope of LIFE to your microwave, a dishwasher, or to a metal appliance rack with the use of magnets or tape.

If you have no magnets or perhaps no magnetic friendly finishes, the form can be placed on the top of the refrigerator or in a cabinet closest to the refrigerator.

The magnetic pocket that is available by request from the EMS office is also a great storage place for your important medical documents such as: Defibrillator, Implant and Port information or DNR orders.

Out of ink? Have no print capabilities? Call Pittsburgh EMS Headquarters at 412-622-6930 and request that an Envelope of LIFE packet be mailed to your residence.

We also suggest that you make copies of the Envelope of LIFE form and carry it in your purse, wallet or in your vehicle. Emergencies don’t just happen at home!

Wherever the Envelope of LIFE is located, make sure it’s easy to find by family and Paramedics. Help us help you!

Vital Information

From the minute the call for help is dispatched, our Paramedics are assessing your needs.  When the wheels of the truck begin to turn, so do the minds of our highly trained Paramedics. How many patients do we have? Is this a heart attack or a car accident? Is the patient breathing? The dispatched information often paints an unclear picture. The key to getting to the source of the problem and providing the right treatment is the patient interview.

The interview begins simply enough. What’s your name? How old are you? Where do you live? Of course, a name and address are not necessary to render treatment, but these “demographic” questions not only help to identify the patient through the entire treatment progression; they offer an indication of the level of consciousness, mental status and the seriousness of the situation.  This process also sets the tempo for the patient encounter, or “call”.

Once the patient has been categorized as stable, the dialogue moves on to the “chief complaint”, or the reason Paramedics were called. To examine the complaint further, we ask an abundance of condition specific questions to determine what treatments are necessary.

If the patient is deemed unstable, the necessary corrective measures are taken and transport to the hospital is expedited.

As the call continues, the patient’s medications are gathered and a list complied. Paramedics also inquire and record allergies and past medical history. These conditions all have a significant bearing on what treatments are initiated. If the patient has an extensive medical history or numerous medications, the necessary interview process can delay the care and transport progression. This gives further testimony to having the Envelope of LIFE on hand and readily available.

Although the nature of the call may allow generous time with the patient, the nature of the illness may not. It is vital that Paramedics have all of your pertinent information on hand as quickly as possible.

The Envelope of LIFE ensures that your information is readily available and it provides Paramedics with exactly what they need to know about you.


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