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EMS Protocols

Defined as: “The plan for a course of medical treatment or for a scientific experiment.”

Policy and Procedures often referred to as Standard Operational Procedures or Standard Operating Guidelines (SOPs or SOGs)  which usually outline the general expectations for all service team members while on-duty. 

Your service medical protocols should be a ‘living document’ and be reviewed and updated on a regular- possibly bi-annual -basis. 

All EMS services are required to work under protocols, a set of planned steps to follow for specific occurrences.  If your service has special protocols, approved by your Medical Director, these must be in writing and submitted to the OSDH EMS Division for review and final approval before they can be used on the streets.



Some services operate at a lesser licensure than some of their medics are licensed. This is when individual protocols come into play.

Ex: XYZ Ambulance Service is licensed as a Basic Service. They routinely have a few paramedics and/or intermediates on their trucks.  Their Medical Director has approved protocols for those individual medics to operate at their full licensure while on those trucks. This is an example of Individual Protocols.

The Medical Director is the only one who can approve Individual Protocols for a service. The medical director will make his determination of whom he will agree to sponsor, complete the appropriate forms and forward to OSDH EMS Division for final approval.

Allowing for Individual Protocols is also a service decision. Individual Protocols have proven invaluable for assisting services needing the ability to transport long-haul runs which require advanced skills. It can have an impact on the services bottom line as well as raises the skill level available.

However, this can place not only the medical director at risk but also the service as a whole. This is where due consideration must be given to the need and advantages for your service. Is your service financially set to handle the cost of additional equipment that would be required for use with a higher protocol level? Are you assured of the training status of the individual involved and are you willing to make that recommendation to your medical director?

An example of an individual’s List of Authorized procedures is on the last page of the application.  That form does not need to be returned to the department, but retained at the agency in the staff members credential file.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Emergency Systems
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Suite 1702
Oklahoma City, OK 73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Phone: (405) 426-8480
Fax: (405) 900-7560 or (using email)

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