Superstition Fire and Medical District celebrating 41st annual EMS Week May 17-23

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Superstition Fire and Medical District is joining in recognizing the work done by medical responders as part of National Emergency Medical Services. The celebration began May 17 and continues through May 23, according to http://www.naemt.org.

In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate emergency medical services, its practitioners and the important work they do in responding to medical emergencies. Back then, EMS was a fledgling profession and EMS practitioners were only beginning to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the onset of fire-based EMS was just beginning, according to a press release.

Four decades later, fire-based EMS is now established as a key component of the medical care continuum, and the important role of EMS practitioners in saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest and trauma. Every day SFMD emergency medical technicians and paramedics work to get people to the hospitals best equipped to treat heart attacks and strokes; and in showing caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments, according to the release.

SFMD has a long history of providing emergency medical care by first responding firefighters. As the delivery of fire-based EMS continued to evolve through the 1970s and ‘80s, the fire district began training personnel to the level of emergency medical technicians, intermediate EMTs, and then certified paramedics. These new EMS providers brought advanced medical skills, such as endotracheal intubation, defibrillation and IV therapy to the citizens of the fire district.

In the earliest days of EMS, before cardiopulmonary resuscitation and portable defibrillators, local hospital ambulances would respond to calls for help from the sick or injured, frequently arriving at the scene with little or no specialized equipment, and often no training. Because of this lack of training and technology, the majority of the more seriously injured patients already had died by the time the ambulance reached them and almost surely by the time they reached the hospital. Pre-hospital care in those days was truly a “scoop and run” operation, according to the release.

An important aspect and success of the EMS system was the designation of critical patient care categories and the development of Level One Trauma Centers. These facilities specialize in a particular area of expertise including severe trauma, burn injuries, snake bites, re-plantations and hyperbaric centers.

Today, that early pre-hospital care system has transformed into a state-of-the-art EMS response system consisting of dozens of firefighter/paramedics and firefighter/EMTs certified at both national and state levels. These dedicated individuals respond to more than 6,500 EMS calls a year in the fire district.

In 2013, SFMD was recognized by the Arizona Department of Health Services as a “Premier EMS Provider.” EMS continues to advance into the future with major strides.

For more information, visit www.sfmd.az.gov or call 480-982-4440.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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