The ‘father of modern EMS’
His 2004 Los Angeles Times obituary described Jim Page as “widely viewed as the most influential proponent of emergency medical services, particularly in fire departments.”2 Few figures accomplished more in the advance of American EMS.
Beginning as an ambulance attendant and firefighter in his native Southern California, Page rose to battalion chief in the L.A. County Fire Department and obtained a law degree. He served as state EMS director in North Carolina and helped lead development of an eight-county system in Western New York. He also famously served as an advisor to the landmark 1970s TV show Emergency!, which helped galvanize public acceptance of and demand for prehospital care. The character of Johnny Gage was named in his honor.
In 1971 Page was tasked by the L.A. County FD with coordinating the implementation of paramedic services across the county. “Under his command, and with reluctance,” wrote the New York Times in its obituary, “firefighters in Los Angeles County learned to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, use heart defibrillators, and administer other emergency procedures, training that has since become common. Fire departments in many cities are now responsible for providing their communities with paramedic services.”3
“He helped to take EMS from a fledgling, uncoordinated effort to the beginnings of a true profession,” added Carol Summer, then the publisher of EMS Magazine, which became EMS World. “He made the field more cohesive. He helped to give it direction.”3
Page wrote seven books and more than 400 magazine articles and editorials; he and Keith Griffiths also founded the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. Along with partners Doug Wolfberg and Steve Wirth, Page created Page, Wolfberg, and Wirth, the first U.S. law firm devoted exclusively to EMS law. His name graces the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ James O. Page Award of Excellence.
We honor you, Jim Page.