Monday June 27, 2005
Mayor Jerry Abramson says that by creating one team and eliminating urban and suburban service boundaries, the newly established Louisville Metro EMS is enhancing the city’s response to medical emergencies.
“A medical emergency has no boundaries, so we now dispatch the closest available crew, regardless of whether the patient resides in the old city or the old county area,” Abramson said today at Teamsters Union Hall where EMS employees received a variety of training presentations.
The paramedics and EMTs also received new uniforms and saw a prototype for the department’s 11 new ambulances funded in the upcoming budget.
In addition to the new ambulances, Abramson’s budget – approved Thursday by the Metro Council – will refurbish seven ambulances and fund the hiring and training of 46 additional paramedics and EMTs over the next year. The first group of 23 recruits is expected to begin training in late summer and be in the field by fall. The new hires will bring the community’s EMS staffing to its highest level ever, with 250 paramedics and EMTs.
EMS also will provide for medical supplies and medical oversight for 18 suburban fire departments that serve as additional first responders.
“In emergency medicine, seconds can literally save lives,” said Dr. Neal Richmond, EMS chief executive officer. “We’re taking a comprehensive, community-wide approach to find ways to shave seconds and minutes off response time.”
Richmond outlined other EMS initiatives underway to enhance emergency-medical response, including:
· Adjusting ambulance and personnel locations based on current call- and run-volume data.
· Working with higher-education institutions to develop undergraduate degree programs in emergency-medical response.
· Developing a proposal to state government to expand the approved scope of practice for EMTs, to include distributing aspirin or other medicines for conditions such as asthma, heart attack or severe bee stings.
· Exploring wireless and global-positioning technology to provide real-time tracking of ambulances in the field to make more informed dispatch decisions and to transfer patient information to hospitals.
· Ongoing quality assurance and process improvements through field evaluation of responses and procedures.
The stand-alone emergency-medical services agency was created in February by combining paramedics and emergency-medical technicians from the Louisville Fire Department and Jefferson County EMS services.