Emergency Medical Services have become a basic necessity in today’s world. With the medical advances that have occurred in recent years it makes it easy and practical for every hospital and community to have their own task force of qualified individuals. While everyone is aware of what an ambulance is and what purpose it serves there are many aspects of emergency medical services that the general public is unaware of.
As far as historical records can tell, the first hospital based ambulance was started in 1865 at the Commercial Hospital in Ohio. It wasn’t long until the rest of the United States began to replicate and expand on this idea. In 1869 New York City ambulances began carrying medical supplies including morphine and stomach pumps. At the time this was a huge step in the field of medicine because it allowed people to be treated before they even arrived at the hospital.
When World War I came around the two-way radio was invented. This invention greatly helped ambulance services because it allowed dispatchers and medics to communicate with one another and saved a lot of time getting from one emergency to the next. This in turn saved many lives and made the entire operation smoother.
Then in 1971 the president of the American Association of Trauma, Sawnie Gaston, published progress studies regarding the then current emergency medical services. This led to an increase in discussion and helped to improve the efficiency of emergency care. Over the years changes were made until the ambulance services we are accustomed to today were created.
Not all Emergency Medical Services are provided directly by a hospital. There are many different companies and/or organizations that take part in providing local communities with emergency response teams.
The local, provincial, and national government has its own ambulances that work throughout the United States depending on location. In more rural areas the emergency teams are often knit together with fire stations and/or police departments. The main reason for this is that smaller communities may not have the funding to hire separate ambulance teams- so they work together with other local responders. This does mean, however, that the vehicle used may not necessarily be an ambulance.
Then there are volunteer ambulance services that usually target specific locations. Charities and/or nonprofit groups sometimes provide emergency care and patient transport. These efforts are usually targeted within a certain community or during large event that may require medical standby personnel. One example of this kind of service is the response offered by the Red Cross, which will often send groups to communities in need and provide temporary assistance.
Also when larger companies have dangerous conditions they may choose to have their own medical service providers on site. Chemical plants are probably the biggest example of an operation that needs to take their health conditions very seriously.
Although to many people the variety of careers involved in the EMS may seem slim there are actually a lot of people involved in the process. Specific qualifications and certifications must be obtained in order to have any position, plus individuals must have clear communication skills.
Ambulance drivers are absolutely essential to the entire operation. This job goes hand-in-hand with the dispatcher. A dispatcher has the job of keeping in contact with the ambulance driver and personnel by giving them all the information they need to quickly arrive at emergency scenes. Then there is an ambulance care assistant who does a lot of physical work with helping in patient transportation including helping patients onto stretchers and in/out of wheelchairs.
Two other critical parts to the emergency squad are EMTs and paramedics. Both of these careers have the task of assessing specific cases and helping the patients as needed. This can include giving oxygen, monitoring important information, and, specifically in the case of the paramedic, giving patients shots or IV. Every single one of these jobs is as important as the other in making sure that the emergency responders will be able to efficiently reach patients and get people the care they need.
Six Steps of Pre-hospital Care
As stated previously, there are many different people that work together to make the entire operation run. When these people first respond to an emergency scene it is their job to assess each individual case and take the appropriate steps necessary to help the patient(s). There are six main steps that go into the pre-hospital treatment.
A first responder should survey the area before making an immediate decision. They should make sure that they are not put into harm’s way by helping, and that the patient is brought to a secure environment to receive the help. The responder can then decide whether or not back up is needed depending on the number of patients and their needs. Once the priorities are established the responder can continue to the next step.
Step two is where the rapid assessment skills come into play. Depending on the patient’s condition they may require assistance with breathing and CPR may need to be performed. A responder should also check to make sure no airways or circulation is cut off. After the vital problems are solved step three includes collecting past medical history. A patient’s medical history is essential to knowing what kind of help is necessary and/or allowed. This is also when the responder can take a close look at the scene itself and establish what the initially problems were. Then the responder should move onto step four and search for any physical damage; this includes visible wounds and fractures that may need to be taken care of at a medical location.
Finally the responder can reassess the entire situation. During step five a simple question should be asked: was treatment successful? If not, and if conditions persist or get increasingly worse, patients may need to be transported to a hospital. The last step would be taken if transportation is needed and the responder will reach out to the appropriate treatment center for assistance.
Emergency Medical Services are essential to keeping people alive who are under dire circumstances. There are many people involved on these teams and it takes a lot of quick thinking and fast paced work to help patients in immediate need. Each state, city, and community has different procedures and teams that are available for emergency needs. To find out more information, or if you’re interested in becoming a part of an emergency response team, you can find more information here or a local Bureau of EMS.