Emergency medical services there when needed
May 17, 2007
The purpose of Emergency Medical Services Week, May 20-26, is to let the public know that emergency medical services staff are available 24 hours a day – every day – in the community.
“EMS Week is to bring the public in to visit us – to ask questions and see how we operate,” said firefighter/paramedic Jonathan Plumer at East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts Station 14.
Several fire protection agencies are celebrating Emergency Medical Services Week with free blood pressure checks, blood glucose monitoring, child car seat inspections and installations and station tours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Station 14 on County Road always has two paramedics, two emergency medical technicians and one captain on duty. Staff is always available for emergencies – for an emergency in the middle the night, use the red emergency phones or door bells outside the station houses.
“We’re all cross-trained, all risk, which means we do basically everything – structure and wildland fires, rescues and hazardous materials incidents,” said Plumer.
“We had a walk-in medical emergency last week. He basically coded – loss of pulse and he stopped breathing but we were able to revive him,” he said.
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The resident was on the way to work when he started having symptoms.
The team revived him and he was transported to the hospital where he has since recovered.
“The best decision he ever made is that he had chest pain and stopped by the station,” said Plumer. “He might have arrested on Highway 395 and caused an accident.”
Plumer said it is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and seek help, rather than ignore the symptoms.
“We have a saying, ‘Time is muscle,’ which means the longer it takes to get to the hospital, the more damage could occur to the heart or brain,” he said.
Plumer said the first question emergency medical technicians ask when they arrive is whether CPR has been administered.
Applying CPR increases a person’s chances of survival, he said.
If there are enough people interested, the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts holds CPR and CPR/basic first aid classes monthly.
Call the district office at 782-9040 to sign up for the next class, June 23.
Several fire protection agencies are celebrating Emergency Medical Services week with free blood pressure checks, blood glucose monitoring, child car seat inspections/installations and station tours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 21-25.
— Topaz Ranch Estates Volunteer Fire Department Station 4, 1476 Albite Dr., Wellington, 266-3780
— East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Station 7, 940 Mitch Dr., Gardnerville Ranchos, 783-6470
— East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Station 14, 1699 County Road, Minden, 783-6440
from the American College of Emergency Physicians
When to call 911
Always call EMS if the victim needs immediate medical treatment. To make this decision, ask yourself these questions and if the answer to any of these questions is yes or if you are unsure, it is best to call EMS.
— Is the victim’s condition life-threatening?
— Could the victim’s condition worsen and become life-threatening on the way to the hospital?
— Could the distance or traffic conditions cause a delay in getting the victim to the hospital?
Paramedics and emergency medical technicians can begin medical treatments at the scene and on the way to the hospital and alert the emergency department of your condition en route.
When you call for help, speak calmly and clearly. Give your name, address and phone number. Give the location of the victim and describe the problem. Don’t hang up until the dispatcher tells you to – he or she may need more information or need to give instructions.
The American College of Emergency Physicians has identified the following warning signs of a medical emergency:
— Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
— Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
— Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness
— Changes in vision
— Confusion or changes in mental status
— Any sudden or severe pain
— Uncontrolled bleeding
— Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
— Coughing or vomiting blood
— Suicidal or homicidal feelings
Signs of heart attack from American Heart Organization:
— Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.
— Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
— Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
— Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Stroke warning signs from American Heart Organization:
— Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
— Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
— Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
— Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
— Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.