Montgomery County, MD - - - This week is National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, in honor of the dedicated men and women who provide critical day-to-day lifesaving services on the “frontlines” of emergencies across the country. When conditions can change in seconds, dual role firefighters/EMTs and firefighter/paramedics in Montgomery County provide sophisticated, state-of-the-art pre-hospital emergency medical care that can often mean the difference between life and death. The fire department has a rich history of protecting the health and safety of the community through an ‘all hazards’ response model and this week provides an opportunity to recognize EMS contributions of the past and build upon them for a safer tomorrow.
This year’s theme, ‘EMS: One Mission. One Team,’ recognizes the integral role of EMS providers with hospital emergency and trauma teams. Annually, 75 percent of all Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service emergency calls are EMS-related and as the public’s demand for emergency medical services has steadily increased over the years, advances in medicine and technology have increased the role of EMS providers in the field.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) has a national reputation for excellence and is continually researching and implementing innovative protocols to improve patient outcomes through advanced pre-hospital emergency medical care. In 2009, the department implemented several critical programs that demonstrate the department’s commitment to saving lives in the community. With strong evidence nationally that pre-hospital care has a profound impact on survival, the department was one of the first in the state to implement and deploy paramedic-staffed engine companies which facilitates faster access, improved pre-hospital care and enhanced patient care during an emergency. In 2010, the department established the Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) program which allows paramedics to transmit critical patient data directly and securely from remote locations to area hospitals using sophisticated technology and equipment. This new technology accelerates the diagnosis process while reducing critical time that ultimately can make a difference in patient outcome and survival.
“In recent weeks, we have seen the critical role that EMS responders play in major events and times of disaster,” said Chief Steven Lohr. “Today’s EMS system brings the first, and often critical, hour of specialized emergency care right to the patient’s side.When you have a medical emergency, you need immediate care. EMS Week provides an opportunity to recognize the often less visible members of our lifesaving team who are often first on the scene of emergencies and medically complex calls and, on a daily basis, go above and beyond the call of duty to save lives.”