Max L. Spray, 73, an authority on emergency health, rescue and first aid services, died Saturday of a heart ailment at Alexandria Hospital.

He had joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1965 as a sonsultant to the emergency medical services unit in the division of accident prevention.

At his retirement in 1973 Mr. Spray was with the public information branch in the office of communications of the National Institute of Mental Health, now a component of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration in USPHS.

Born in Waldron, Mich, he joined the staff of the Ashland (Ky.) Daily Independent in 1935. Ten years later he resigned as assistant managing editor to become director of public information for the eastern area of the American Red Cross at its headquarters in Alexandria.

Mr. Spray later served as managing editor of the Arlington Virginia Daily Sun, now the Northern Virginia Sun.

He then operated a public relations and advertising agency in Alexandria and served as managing director of the former Alexandria Retail Merchants Association and as executive officer of the Alexandria Contructor Association an the Northern Virginia Electrical Contractors Association.

From 1956 through 1963, Mr. Spray was executive director of the International Rescue and First Aid Association, establishing its headquarters in Alexandria. He also was editor of its bimonthly magazine, International Rescuer.

He was on the Alexandria District Boy Scout Committee and had received the Scouts' highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award. Mr. Spray was a member of the Alexandria Hospital Corp. He was a former "Man-of-the-Year" of the Alexandria Optimist Club.

He belonged to the International Association of Fire Chiefs and was an honorary member of the Alexandria Kiwanis Club, Rescue Squad No. 1 of the Alexandria Fire Department and the Maryland State Ambulance and Rescue Association.

Mr. Spray was a member of the Washington Street United Methodist Church in Alexandria.

He is survived by his wife, Helen, of Alexandria; three children, Dean R., of Wheaton, Clyde R., of Alexandria; and Ada Jean Palfrey, of Alexandria; a brother, Dean R., of Waldron, and eight grandchildren.