Suzanne Waybright, AEMT-CC
Fort Drum Ambulance, USA MEDDAC
This year, National Emergency Medical Services Week runs from May 15-21.
The EMS Week theme for 2011 is “Everyday Heroes.” It celebrates the exceptional service being provided to countless patients every day, often under incredibly challenging circumstances. It illustrates the fact that EMS providers are dedicated to saving lives and limiting suffering on a daily basis. They are selfless professionals who put their own lives on hold, day after day, to respond to the emergency needs of others.
National EMS Week began in 1973 by presidential proclamation. It honors men and women across the country who are dedicated to saving lives when accidents and sudden illness occurs. It is a chance for all of us to learn more about how and when to use EMS, and how to prevent some medical emergencies.
What is EMS?
When someone gets hurt or has a health emergency (like a heart attack, choking, or an allergic reaction to food or medicine), the quickest way to get help is to call 911. Within minutes, an ambulance – equipped like a mini emergency room – is on its way.
The most important part of EMS is the people – the paramedics and emergency medical services technicians – who are trained to get the problem under control and get people to a hospital. Being an EMT has become a fast-growing profession with specific requirements and opportunities to advance to higher levels.
A bit of history
EMS has come a long way. Today’s system got started in the 1960s, when a study showed that an injured person had a better chance of surviving in a war than on our highways.
There was no 911. It was necessary to know the telephone number of the hospital or an ambulance company or call the operator and ask for help.
Ambulances were not as good then, either. Many of them were station wagons with little more than a stretcher and some bandages. Most of the drivers didn’t have much emergency medical training, and many ambulance services were run by funeral homes.
Where we are today
The Fort Drum EMS is certified with the New York State Department of Health, providing advanced life-support care at the paramedic level. EMS carries state-of-the-art equipment to treat any medical or traumatic emergency for adults and pediatrics, a LifePak 12 monitor defibrillator, resuscitation drugs and mass casualty kits, to name a few.
Fort Drum’s EMS responds to emergencies on the installation as well as surrounding communities – to include Evans Mills, Black River, Theresa, Philadelphia, Antwerp, Carthage and Calcium – in accordance with an existing mutual aid agreement with Jefferson County.
Did you know?
Each year, 100 million people in the United States go to emergency rooms.
Many injuries can be prevented. Here are a few tips to help stay safe and protect yourself and others:
*Sports – Wear the proper equipment, stay in good physical condition and follow the rules.
*Fun on wheels – Make sure that bikes, scooters, or in-line skates work right; wear helmets and pads; obey traffic rules; and don’t ride or skate in the dark.
*Water – Learn to swim; swim with a buddy; and check for depth, rocks and other objects before diving into a pool, lake or river.
*Cars – Buckle up! Don’t ride with a driver who has been using alcohol, marijuana or other illicit drugs.
*School buses – Be careful getting on or off the bus. Remember, if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
*Medicine – Follow directions, don’t use someone else’s prescription, and properly dispose of old medicines.
*Firearms – If you find a gun, don’t touch it.
*Babysitting – Know what to do about choking, burns and fire.
*Fighting – Find other ways to work things out; watch for kids who bully or can’t control their anger.
*Helping others – Learn basic emergency lifesaving skills.
The Fort Drum ambulance is a vital public service that provides life-saving and supportive care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Such access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rates of those who experience sudden illness or injury.
Remember, if you have an emergency, the Fort Drum ambulance is only a phone call away – by dialing 911.