It’s Emergency Medical Services Week; thank a paramedic for the hard work they do (letter) | VailDaily.com

It’s Emergency Medical Services Week; thank a paramedic for the hard work they do (letter)

Monday, May 21, through Saturday, May 26, is Emergency Medical Services Week in the United States. During this week, we recognize the tremendous service and sacrifice of EMS providers across the country. This year's theme, "Stronger Together," recognizes that EMS is a network of many teams that work together to provide a mobile health-care system 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

EMS has come a very long way since its inception in the late 1960s. In those days, EMS providers had very little training and transported patients in hearses, as many early ambulance services were provided by funeral homes. Providers were known as "ambulance drivers." Much of the training and treatment protocols were driven by military experience, namely from the Korean and Vietnam wars. EMS was seen as a public service and was (and still is in many rural areas) a volunteer endeavor: neighbors helping neighbors.

EMS has come a very long way. EMS today is a recognized and valued part of the health-care system. EMS providers are highly trained medical professionals that bring expertise and technology right to the scene of an emergency.

But not all EMS care is life-saving. In fact, very few EMS calls involve a life-threatening situation. EMS care is more typically relieving pain and suffering, holding a patient's hand, helping someone breathe better, telling a mother that her child will be OK, talking someone down from a psychiatric crisis or transporting a very ill patient from a smaller community hospital to a bigger and more capable one — but not always.

EMS also provides highly sophisticated clinical care with cutting-edge equipment and expertise. EMS provides a vast safety net of health-care resources in the community, from injury prevention to critical care.

Eagle County Paramedic Services is your local EMS and paramedic provider. Eagle County Paramedic Services has a long and proud history of not only providing basic services but in many ways advanced and cutting-edge care right here in Eagle County.

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Eagle County Paramedic Services was of the first agencies in the state of Colorado to provide paramedic-based critical care transport when the sickest or injured patients need transport to Denver-area tertiary care centers. These essential transports occur at all times, during some of the worst weather possible, and require a clinical acumen rarely found in EMS.

Eagle County Paramedic Services is proud to be one of the first agencies in the United States to establish a Community Paramedic Program that provides an array of mobile and home-based health-care services, filling a much-needed gap for many patients in Eagle County. Eagle County Paramedic Services provides a wide portfolio of community-based services, including 911 scene response, critical care, education, public safety automated external defibrillators, search and rescue paramedics, special operations and in partnership with many other partners to ensure the best health care here in Eagle County. As the quality manager for Eagle County Paramedic Services, I can assure we provide the very best customer service.

Eagle County Paramedic Services could not be successful without the tremendous support of its system partners. These include first responders with the local fire departments, ski patrollers, law-enforcement agencies, resort public safety, mental-health providers and volunteers with Vail Mountain Rescue Group.

911 dispatchers with Vail Public Safety Communications Center provide a key service in gathering information about the emergency and sending the needed resources, as well as provided potentially life-saving emergency medical dispatch instructions over the phone.

Eagle County Paramedic Services works closely with local physicians and urgent-care centers, as well as the Vail Health and Valley View hospitals. These relationships help patients by facilitating efficient and seamless care in times of emergencies. Eagle County Paramedic Services would not provide a high level of care with our partners, and we are truly "Stronger Together."

Please join me in recognizing all of the EMS providers in Eagle County this week, who hope you never need us but if you do, we will be ready and prepared in your time of need. We are appreciative of the immense community support and look forward to continuing to service this community every day.

Marc Burdick, BS, NRP

Quality and compliance manager, Eagle County Paramedic Services