Editor’s note: Each day, in cities across America, people involved in medical emergencies call 911 for assistance. Within minutes, they hear sirens letting them know help is on the way. Whether employed by private organizations or local, state or event the federal government, emergency medical technicians are making a difference.
As we often say, a true team effort is what leads to effective emergency management - and the contributions of the Emergency Medical Services community are invaluable to that success. To help commemorate National EMS Week, here’s a blog post from the Prince George’s County, Md., Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, about how they’re getting the word out.
National Emergency Medical Services Week is an opportunity for medical personnel to highlight their dedication and service to the community. This year, we will recognize EMS Week from May 20 - May 26, 2012. Wednesday, May 23 has been named “Emergency Medical Services for Children Day”.
The overall theme this year is “EMS. More than a Job. A calling.” This theme encompasses the entire EMS system from the Emergency Medical Dispatcher that answers the 911 call to the medical staff that renders care, to include First Responders and hospital emergency department staff.
We also acknowledge our less-visible personnel who work to ensure we are providing the best possible care: the instructors, quality assurance officers and supervisors of our first responders. Each of these groups of talented and highly qualified personnel attends countless hours of training and continuing education while working anything but normal hours. They are dedicated to providing the very best emergency medical care they can. EMS is more than a job, it’s a calling.
The Prince George’s County Maryland Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is a large combination, career, civilian and volunteer, system that responds to about 130,000 incidents per year. Of those calls, 80% are EMS related and all personnel are trained to a minimum at the Emergency Medical Technician level; many, up to the Paramedic level. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help when it matters the most.
Help may arrive in the form of a fire engine, an ambulance or a paramedic unit, but each provider is trained and will provide emergency medical care to the very best of their ability, EMS is more than a job, it’s a calling. We are partnering with our local media to tell the story of our EMS providers. Several media outlets are being provided an opportunity to ride-along with our medics for a shift and translate our providers’ work into words so that our community can see that it is more than just a job, it’s a calling.
National EMS week offers an opportunity to highlight our personnel as much as it offers us the opportunity to highlight the need for our community to plan and be ready for a disaster when it strikes. Every family should also prepare themselves to help when it matters the most. Visit FEMA’s Ready Campaign at ready.gov/ to find helpful information about your state of readiness in the event of an emergency.
Tips to help be better prepared for emergencies, and enhance access to help during disasters include:
- Check on your access to 9-1-1. Some areas may not have 9-1-1. Some have E-9-1-1 where an address is automatically stored in a database. Know what is available where you live and work.
- Build a “72-hour Disaster Kit”, make a disaster plan, and keep a well-stocked first aid kit.
- Make a list of emergency phone numbers. Write down the numbers you may need during a disaster and display them near all telephones in the house.
- Make sure your house number is visible from the street. To make it easy for police, fire officials or emergency medical personnel to find your house, put large house numbers in a highly visible area. Make sure the numbers are well lit and can be seen at night.
- Keep a clear and up-to-date record of immunizations. This can help doctors do a better job of diagnosing problems in an emergency.
- Write down your medical conditions, medications and their dosages. Being prepared in advance helps assure proper treatment and prevent drug interactions.
- Make a list of allergies and reactions and consider medical I.D. bracelets or tags.
- Take first-aid classes. Some basic classes will teach CPR and proper ways to treat burns, wrap sprains, apply splints, and perform the Heimlich maneuver.