View Full Version : James O. Page, Father of Modern EMS, Passes

Reasonable Rascal
09-07-04, 21:54
James O. Page, Father of Modern EMS, Passes

By JEMS Magazine

James O. Page, whom many consider the father of modern emergency medical services (EMS), died suddenly Sept. 4. He was 68. Page will be greatly missed by his mother, Marion, his wife, Jane, four children and six grandchildren.

Page's passing shocked the EMS and fire community, which regards Page as an advocate, visionary and among the greatest minds in emergency services. The staff of Jems is deeply saddened by a day they'd hoped would never come.

According to paramedics on scene, Page was stricken while swimming in the afternoon of Sept. 4. Page, a fitness enthusiast who in his writing and speaking often urged the fire and emergency services to embrace healthier lifestyles, had no known history of heart disease.

Carlsbad (Calif.) Fire Chief Kevin Crawford is leading a team making plans for a memorial service. Further information on the service will be made available soon.

Page began his fire service career in Los Angeles County in 1957. He served in numerous locations and roles while working his way through the ranks and completing undergraduate education and law school at night. He has been a licensed California attorney since 1971.

In 1971, Page was assigned by his department to coordinate the countywide implementation of paramedic rescue services. At the same time, he served as technical consultant and writer for the "Emergency!" television series.

In 1973, he left the fire department to accept the new position of Chief of EMS for the State of North Carolina.

Page spent the next ten years based on the east coast. In 1976, he was selected as executive director of the non-profit ACT (Advanced Coronary Treatment) Foundation. In 1979, he founded JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) and turned it into one of the world's most respected sources of information for emergency services. While at Jems Communications he oversaw the launch of FireRescue Magazine, for which he wrote the highly regarded "Burning Issues" column.

In 1984, Page returned to the California fire service while maintaining a leadership role in Jems. In 1989, he retired as Fire Chief for the City of Monterey Park (in Los Angeles County) and returned to a full-time leadership role as Chairman and CEO of Jems Communications.

Over the years, Page published five books, wrote more than 400 magazine articles and editorials, and presented more than 800 public speeches. In 1996 he established and funded an EMS educational foundation at Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., because of his intense interest in EMS education. In 1995, the International Association of Fire Chiefs honored him by creating the annual "James O. Page Award of Excellence." In 2000, he was recognized by Fire Chief Magazine as one of the 20 most influential fire chiefs of the 20th Century. In 2002, Jems Communications created the annual "James O. Page/JEMS award," presented annually to an organization or individual who excels in EMS leadership in the face of extreme political or organizational pressures.

In December 2001, he retired from Jems Communications and was given the title of Publisher Emeritus. Page, a partner in the law firm of Page, Wolfberg and Wirth, with offices in California and Pennsylvania, continued as a prolific writer and speaker in the fire and EMS fields. Page was also a collector of vintage fire and rescue vehicles, including his prized Rescue 11.

Over the past year, Page had toured the 100 "best small towns" in America with wife Jane in a custom RV, with the intent of profiling each town's fire department and common success factors. He had already visited over 30 fire departments at the time of his passing, and was inspired and enthused by what he had seen in his visits and travels.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the County of Los Angeles Fire Museum, James O. Page Memorial fund, P.O. Box 3325, Alhambra, CA 91803.

Reasonable Rascal
09-07-04, 21:58
North Carolina Headlines: EMS Pioneer Page Dies

By NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, Staff Writer, The News & Observer
North Carolina's former chief of Emergency Medical Services and the man considered the father of modern emergency medical response died Sept. 4 in California.

James O. Page, 68, died suddenly while swimming laps in a Carlsbad, Calif., pool that did not have a defibrillator. Longtime associate William Atkinson, president and chief executive officer of WakeMed Health and Hospitals, called it "ironic" that the man who championed the accessibility of such quick-response life-saving equipment may have died of a heart attack at a facility without one.

The California native began his career in emergency medicine in 1957, working as a $1-an-hour ambulance attendant. He became a firefighter not long after and advanced through the ranks to become battalion chief. In 1971 he was assigned to coordinate Los Angeles County's implementation of paramedic rescue services.

Two years later, he accepted the position in North Carolina.

"When he first came here, North Carolina had a very primitive system of volunteer rescue services," said Atkinson, who met Page at a paramedic training program in Rockingham County about 31 years ago. "At that time there was no such thing as EMS. ... We didn't have the word paramedic in use in North Carolina."

When Page arrived, there was no 911 service, and people needing an ambulance often got a funeral home hearse with a flashing light, if they got one at all, Atkinson said. The people operating the ambulances often were untrained.

Page changed that. He required two trained responders in every ambulance, implemented a statewide radio and response system and made North Carolina one of the first states to put an emergency medical training program in the community college system. Page pushed for the use of portable medical equipment in ambulances, and he worked to ensure a high level of coordination with first responders and hospitals for cities and rural areas alike.

Page met some resistance, Atkinson said, but soon won people over.

"He came with newfangled California ideas, and they all worked," he said.
When Page left the state a few years later, North Carolina had become a national model for emergency response, Atkinson said.

Page was an internationally known expert in emergency medical response and a strong advocate of CPR training and making accessible such early response equipment as portable defibrillators, which can restart a heart. Atkinson said he hopes Page's death will lead more locations to keep these life-saving machines on hand.

night driver
10-11-04, 11:15
I must have been under a rock.

I missed this.

Jim Page and Dan McNutt....two pioneers who influenced my life more than anyone......I didn't have a chance to know Jim outside of his writings.

Dan on the other hand, was a personal friend for the 15 years I knew him before he died 5 or 6 years ago.

Jim fathereed modern EMS (particularly with Jack Webb as a midwife and "EMERGENCY!" as a model) and Dan fathered the Third Service Concept, with the original 128 Welfare kids in Cleveland.