About EMS Update

Started in 1988, EMS Update has educated and entertained thousands of EMS and Public Safety providers for more than 30 years.

The inaugural EMS Update conference was held Friday, March 25 through Sunday, March 27, 1988 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. This conference had five sessions to choose from.

The 1989 conference was held March 31 through April 2 and consisted of six sessions: Haz-Mat, CPR Instructor, Management, Vehicle Rescue, General, and Prehospital Medical Command (for physicians only).


A brief tour through 30+ years at EMS Update


The 1990 EMS Update conference featured 6 sessions, including agricultural rescue, PALS and classes on CISD. We nearly doubled the number of sessions in 1991, moving to 11 and featuring James O. Page as the Keynote Speaker during brunch in the Ski Lodge. We moved to Thursday sessions in 1992, starting on March 18 and concluding with a "wrap-up" session on Sunday the 22nd. 1993 found us hosting the conference May 20 through the 23rd and featured our first golf outing at the resort. It also featured a Star Trek themed social event and an All You Can Eat Western Barbecue. We stayed in May for Update 94, hosting the conference May 5 through the 7th; eliminating Sunday and bringing back the EMS Olympics as a social event.


At Update 1995, we hosted a National Registry exam for EMTs and a review of the Flight 427 disaster. At Update 96, held March 14 through 16, we began offering continuing education credits for all EMS personnel. EMS Update 97 was held in May and featured our close friend Dr. Peter Safar as the keynote speaker. An EVOC course and Cave Rescue class was also offered. Why's it always got to be snakes?! EMS Update 98 (held March 19, 20 and 21) brought us our first snake awareness class and, in an effort to embrace the snow, we partnered with the resort to offer beginner ski lessons to participants. Our final May conference was held May 20 through the 22nd in 1999, featuring another golf outing and an excursion to Ohiopyle.


EMS Update 2000 was our lucky thirteenth conference, held March 23, 24 and 25 and featuring a then record 59 sessions! 2001: An EMS Odyssey was held March 15 through the 17th and a new tradition of a Welcoming Session with a keynote speaker was introduced: Michael Staley, firefighter and EMT, was struck at the Daytona International Speedway by a car traveling 160 mph. We also provided 84 con-ed sessions (and over 4000 mardi gras beads). Our keynote speaker in 2002 was Mark McGregor from Canada who had survived two heart attacks in eleven months. We also parked a bus in the parking lot and performed several bus rescue rotations. March 25 through 29 were the dates for EMS Update 2003 (yep...5 days!) where we featured a class for EMS Providers' children, ages 8 through 15 and taught them basic first aid, CPR, AED and injury prevention. Then we let them loose in the arcade. Dr. Paul Paris was our keynote speaker for EMS Update 2004, held March 23 through the 27th (again, what was up with the five days?)


Update 2005 was held March 30 through April 2 and featured Steve Berry for the first time as our Keynote. We offered a two-day Tactical EMS class at Update 2006; held March 22 through March 25. Steve Berry came back to Update 2007 and spoke several times over the course of the four days in late March. We also began our popular family movie nights in 2007. A NREMTP practical examination was held at EMS Update 2008 as we also joined with the WISER Center to produce an Advanced Prehospital Airway Program over the course of the four day conference. Again we offered a NREMTP practical examination at Update 2009 which also found Dr. Paul Paris providing our keynote presentation.


EMS Update 2010 consisted of preconference sessions on March 24 and then three days of regular sessions; it was also the first time you could get your photo and signature on your EMS certification cards. In Update 2011 we eliminated the need to pre-select the classes you wanted to attend and who can forget Dr. Dan Swayze's powerful EMS Thru the Ages presentation? EMS Update 2012 was our 25th conference and we we brought back Steve Berry to be our Keynote Speaker and added our popular lunchtime CEU sessions. Randolph Mantooth, aka Johnny Gage, was brought to EMS Update 2013 with the assistance of then West Penn Allegheny Health System and LifeFlight. Update 2013 was held March 21 through 23. We became Pennsylvania's Largest EMS Conference in 2014 by having an online registration system and Brian O'Malley,a climber of Mt. Everest as our featured presenter and Brendan Kearney from Boston EMS discussing the Boston Marathon MCI.


EMS Update 2015, held March 26 through 28 featured a Community Paramedicine Workshop and 75 individual sessions. Navy Seal Brent Gleason spoke at EMS Update 2016 which featured a super hero theme and was held March 31 through April 2. The EMS VIrtual Drive simulator also provided hours of simulated driving continuing education. EMSI announced a name change to EMS West during our Western themed EMS Update 2017 and featured Kelly Grayson and FBI agent Philip Smith. EMS Update 2018 brough stranger things to the mountain; held March 22, 23 and 24 - we featured three keynote sessions, including San Diego Fire Department Paramedic Ben Vernon, Dr. Mike Holtz from Las Vegas and Chicago Fire Department Paramedic Rebecca Bolluyt. We started planning for EMS Update 2019 during Update 18 and cannot wait to share some of the presentations, faculty and special items to you. Stay tuned!