Tactical emergency medical support (TEMS) is the ability to safely provide medical care in high-threat situations where conventional emergency medical services (EMS) personnel are not equipped or qualified to respond. TEMS-trained professionals are primarily used in the non-conventional warfare experts of military special operations units, paramilitary contractors, local and federal law enforcement teams, special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams, and explosive ordinance response units. In addition to having all of the knowledge and skills to provide pre-hospital emergency medical care, TEMS providers also need to be well versed in the deployment of weapons, self-defense, security, rescue operations, survival, evasion, resistance sand escape (SERE).
The Department of Tactical Emergency Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio describes the 3 pillars of TEMS:
- Achieving and maintaining team health through preventive medicine, human performance and sports medicine;
- Education and training programs for all team members (including commanders, operators and medics) on tactical casualty care
- Provision of medical expertise in the forms of advice for decision-making and direct care during all training activities and operational missions.