Monday January 30, 2006
Emerging leaders take on expanded roles as city enhances life-saving service
Mayor Jerry Abramson today promoted 39 paramedics who will be at the forefront of life-saving enhancements to Louisville’s emergency medical services. Abramson and Dr. Neal Richmond, EMS chief executive officer, administered the oath making the employees lieutenants with Louisville Metro EMS.
"You have the opportunity to play pivotal roles in shaping the future of this most critical public service," Abramson told the paramedics. "Our citizens will look to you, as leaders, to help ensure that we provide the most rapid, most professional emergency medical care."
Many of the newly promoted paramedics will staff the EMS "fly cars" - rapid response vehicles added to the agency’s fleet in December as part of a deployment change that puts up to 65 percent more response vehicles on the streets of Louisville.
Richmond said the lieutenants also will serve as field-training officers, responsible for oversight and instruction regarding medical protocols, as well as development and training for newer paramedics and emergency medical technicians with the department.
"We implemented this new rank structure to build increased opportunities and career mobility for our team," Richmond said. "Our redeployment is designed to both improve medical care to the community and enhance the quality-of -life for our medical responders."
Under the new EMS deployment, 10 fly cars staffed with paramedics supplement up to 30 ambulances staffed with a paramedics and/or EMTs. Previously, EMS deployed 24 ambulances across Louisville.
The community-wide EMS was created in February 2005 by combining Jefferson County EMS with the emergency medical function of the Louisville Fire Department. Since that time, the department has made a number of enhancements to improve medical response. In addition to the fly-car deployment, these include:
· Dispatching the nearest responder to a given medical emergency, regardless of geographic boundaries. Previously, response often was restricted by old city-county limits.
· Aggressive recruitment and hiring to have more medical responders in the community than ever before. Abramson’s current-year budget included funding to hire 46 new paramedics and EMTs.
· Purchasing 11 new ambulances and refurbishing seven ambulances.
· Combining EMS dispatch with police, fire and other emergency dispatchers at the MetroSafe communications center. Phase 1 of MetroSafe, located at 768 Barret Avenue, allows dispatchers to work together to coordinate multi-agency emergency response and to communicate with emergency responders in 20 jurisdictions surrounding Louisville.
· Forging relationships with suburban fire departments for increased first-response capabilities.
· Developing the first-ever Metro EMS training academy.