Stories

Shining a spotlight on the people and events that inspire our industry.

Ties That Bind

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It’s always rewarding to be highly regarded, whether it’s by customers, coworkers or your community. This is especially true for EMS. How patients, community leaders and elected officials regard an EMS agency can impact the level of support-financial and otherwise-an organization receives. That’s no small matter during times when difficult spending decisions are made. EMS Week is a timely way to remind the public and civic leaders of your vital role, and to connect with citizens when they aren’t in the midst of a crisis.

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Remembering Johnny and Roy

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EMS week traces its origins back 40 years ago to 1973, when millions of Americans were first getting to know EMS via the iconic TV show Emergency!

In January 1972, the premier episode of Emergency! aired on NBC. Over the next six years, audiences watched firefighter-paramedics Johnny Gage (played by Randolph Mantooth), Roy DeSoto (played by Kevin Tighe) and the fictional crew of Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 51 deliver babies, teach CPR, treat seizures and rescue people trapped in car wrecks, storm drains and even a man-eating sofa bed.

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world cpr pic 041

Join the CPR CHALLENGE

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IMAGINE A LOCAL PARK on a beautiful 70-degree day in May. Joggers make their way along running trails and families spread picnic blankets beneath the kite-dotted sky. Someone strums a guitar.
This peaceful scene is interrupted by the sound of sirens. Several emergency vehicles enter the parking lot -fire engines, ambulances and unit chiefs. But this is no ordinary response: As the first responders step out of their vehicles, a disco beat emanates from a boom box, and the bystanders quickly recognize the tune: “Stayin’ Alive.” Before the Bee Gees get to the part about the New York Times’ effect on man, paramedics have set up a manikin on the grass and begun doing CPR. More manikins are deployed as the crowd grows, and the responders invite onlookers to take a turn doing chest compressions.

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EMS on the Hill

Get Involved!

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EVERY YEAR IN MARCH hundreds of EMS colleagues head to Washington, D.C., as an exercise in democracy. Their vision: to speak with one voice, to ensure lawmakers and their staffs understand the role of EMS and to promote legislation that enables a better system of emergency care.
“EMS providers over the years have been reluctant to pat them­selves on the back and share the many success stories that occur [across] the country every day,” says Terry David, EMS director of Rice County in central Kansas, who also serves as the NAEMT Advocacy Coordinator Kansas. “This is an excellent opportunity to begin the dialogue or continue already established relationships with your national elected officials,” he continues. “They do value your opin­ion and EMS on the Hill is a great opportunity to meet other EMS professionals from across the country and present a unified front,” he adds.

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photo courtesy of FDNY

PUTTING THE SPOTLIGHT ON EMS

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New York City’s Fire Department (FDNY) is the nation’s largest and probably best known. Its 11,000 firefighters are frequently in the news or profiled in movies and TV shows; tales of their heroism on 9/11 have been recounted around the globe.
What the public is less aware of is another critical component of the FDNY-the 3,300 EMTs and paramedics who make up the Bureau of Emergency Medical Service, or FDNY EMS. Created in 1996 when the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation merged with the FDNY, the Bureau of EMS is the nation’s largest municipal EMS agency, responding to 1.4 million calls annually.

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INTERVIEW WITH MELISSA COSTELLO, MD, FACEP

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Growing up in a small town in suburban Connecticut, Melissa Costello and her teammates on the high school rowing team volun­teered at their local fire station/ambulance base. “In Connecticut, and really throughout New England, there are large municipal fire departments in the cities, but virtually everything else is done by volunteers,” Costello says. “For us teenagers, it was a good place to hang out with some structure away from our parents.”
Those experiences turned out to be a first step toward a career in medicine. She took an EMT course and joined her campus res­cue squad, GERMS (Georgetown Emergency Medical Response). After moving to Alabama to attend medical school, she volunteered as an EMT-Intermediate for Mobile County EMS and worked for NorthStar Paramedic Service in Tuscaloosa. “I enjoyed actually doing some hands-on patient care in the midst of medical school, which is very book-intensive in the beginning,” says Costello, who was her medical school’s campus class president. “I also enjoyed the people. EMTs and paramedics are really a fun group.”

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