The Evolution of EMS and the SCEMS Association

Hello, my fellow Carolina Fire-Rescue-EMS Journal readers and followers. Without a doubt, the SCEMSA would not be where we are without the pathway previous leadership has laid down. Most recently, Henry Lewis made vital connections with built bridges connecting other public safety entities and key players within the legislation to promote EMS statewide and beyond. For that, we are certainly grateful. image

As COVID has rapidly evolved, the SCEMSA has been actively working to support its members and advocate for both EMS agencies and field level providers.

I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself and the other new officers for the South Carolina EMS Association. I am William Tatum and I serve as the President of the SCEMSA. I have been a paramedic with Prisma Health EMS for 20 plus years. Following my years as one of the EMS Shift Supervisors, I recently took the roll as the Communications Supervisor for all of Prisma Health EMS. With a staff of 19 dedicated, EMD Certified Telecommunicators, we process close to 40,000 requests for service from the Upstate of South Carolina to the Midlands.

I also serve as a Region II Director for the NAEMT. Alongside of me, Gerald Blanchard from Kershaw County serves as the President Elect, Wendy Lee from Berkeley County serves as our Treasurer and David Porter with EMTech serves as our Secretary. Combined, they bring over 60 plus years of EMS experience to our association. When you combine our executive staff along with our regional representatives on the board and our sub-committee chairs, the SC EMS Association is ready to assist services and providers throughout our great state in all areas of Emergency Medical Service.

As COVID has rapidly evolved, the SCEMSA has been actively working to support its members and advocate for both EMS agencies and field level providers. SCEMSA leadership has been working diligently to begin opening lines of communication with partner organizations and state representatives to ensure that our members’ voices are being heard.

During times like this it imperative that as an industry we speak with one voice to ensure that decision makers hear a consistent and constant message. Over the last few years the EMS industry in South Carolina has made great strides to unify our voice through the association. The South Carolina Ambulance Providers Association (SCAPA), which represented a large number of private providers in the state, made the decision to operate under the umbrella of the association. The air ambulance providers and educator’s associations have also followed suit setting the stage for the SCEMSA to begin to further advance the interests of EMS in our state and on the national stage.

The timing for this unity in South Carolina could not come at a better time as our industry faces unprecedented demands for our services. There is no doubt that COVID will completely redefine the healthcare landscape, to include pre-hospital care. What is less clear is exactly what that will look like. While these times are challenging, in the face of adversity is often when innovation takes shape. To ensure that EMS is at the table for these discussions your association has been further developing relationships with a myriad of partners to include other partner associations, regulatory agencies, national associations and payors. While the innovation conversations are just beginning, and will continue to happen, the SCEMSA will be at the table to ensure that our memberships voices are heard.

Now for the question, how can you help? As has been detailed in earlier columns if you are not a member yet please visit to learn more about the benefits of membership. We have joined forces with the National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) to bring a dual membership to you. When you join SCEMSA, your NAEMT membership is activated as well. The result is amazing offerings for you such as educational discounts, uniform and equipment savings and discounted travel and entertainment options.

We have developed a multimedia platform comprised of a fresh and new website as well as social media options and plans for further development of digital tools for the membership. No matter what your affiliation is, the SCEMSA has room for you. We look forward to meeting you and having your input as we make EMS in South Carolina the envy of many around the world.

William Tatum serves as President of the South Carolina EMS Association. He is also a career paramedic serving as the Communications Supervisor for Prisma Health Emergency Medical Services. In addition, he is the SC Membership Coordinator and one of the Region II Directors on the Executive Board for the National Association of EMT’s (NAEMT). Tatum is currently involved as an Adjunct Instructor for EMT programs in the upstate and is part of many EMS and Public Safety Advisory Committees. He can be reached via email at

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