ALLENTOWN OBSERVES EMS WEEK

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It comes at a time when EMS units from across the country are busier than ever answering calls from victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Respondents are in constant danger of exposure to the highly contagious disease which has claimed more than 90,000 lives in the United States.

National EMS Week brings together local communities, hospitals, and medical personnel to publicize EMS and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services on medicine’s “front line.”  There is a different theme for each weekday of the May 18 through May 23 celebration.

President Gerald Ford authorized the first EMS Week in 1974 to celebrate EMS workers and volunteers and the important jobs they perform throughout the nation.

A ceremony to recognize Allentown department award winners had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the current situation has changed the nature of ceremonious activities, I feel it is important to recognize the selfless work our paramedics do every day,” said Eric Gratz, EMS Chief of Operations.  “The reliance on these skilled men and women in this time of crisis is paradoxically represented by the absence of our annual EMS Week recognition event due to the pandemic.”

An all paramedic advanced life support service, Allentown EMS responded to nearly 16,000 calls for service in 2019.

EMS may provide both basic and advanced medical care at emergency scenes and while en route to a hospital.  More than just a mobile intensive care ambulance service, Allentown’s paramedics are involved in numerous public service specialty teams such as HAZMAT, police ERT, Technical and Urban Search and Rescue, water rescue, and our dive and bike teams.

The Allentown EMS fleet includes eight ALS equipped ambulances with three advanced life support ambulances that are staffed around the clock with one additional ALS ambulance operating during peak call-volume times.  The shift supervisor responds to calls 24 hours a day in an ALS quick response vehicle.

For the sixth consecutive year, Allentown EMS has achieved 2020 Mission: Lifeline EMS GOLD PLUS recognition for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Every year, across the country more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition is a program designed to showcase Emergency Medical Service organizations across the nation for excellent STEMI care. Prehospital personnel are the first providers of care to patients suffering from cardiac emergencies. The role of EMS in the system-of-care for these patients is crucial and often sets the course for the patient’s outcome. The Mission: Lifeline EMS recognition program is launched in 2014 and continues to celebrate the achievement of the pre-hospital providers and their collaboration with each other and destination hospitals specific to STEMI patient care.