Daruna: Take a moment to thank your local EMTs | VailDaily.com

Daruna: Take a moment to thank your local EMTs

Brandon Daruna
Valley Voices
Brandon Daruna

May 21-27, 2023 marks the 49th annual National EMS week, authorized by President Gerald . Ford in 1974 to recognize and celebrate emergency medical services professionals. This year, we pay tribute to the skilled, empathetic and dedicated paramedics and EMTs of Eagle County Paramedic Services, who work tirelessly to provide high-quality, out-of-hospital care to the community.

Since its establishment in 1982, Eagle County Paramedic Services has grown from serving 13,000 residents to catering to a population of over 55,000 full-time residents and 120,000 visitors during peak season. The service has five response stations and seven 24-hour paramedic crews stationed from Gypsum to Vail, ensuring efficient emergency response and medical care.

Despite being commonly associated with car crashes, sirens, and ambulance rides, EMS is a complex and challenging profession. Paramedics often put their lives on the line as they respond to violent scenes and hazardous environments. They also create long-lasting relationships with their patients through community paramedics, providing a different level of advanced home health care that is critical to the community’s health.

Paramedics undergo extensive education and training, including up to a two-year rigorous educational program, a hospital internship, and a 500-hour field internship. Education continues throughout their career, with regular training and classes required, and many field staff members pursue additional specialty training. The service has paramedics with more than 40 years of experience, alongside EMTs who are just beginning their careers.

In 2022, Eagle County Paramedic Services responded to 5,866 total calls, including 4,728 911 emergency calls, 570 community paramedic responses, and 232 behavioral health crisis calls. Their interfacility transfer program also transported more than 500 patients from Vail Health to specialty centers throughout the state, with critical care paramedics providing high-level medical care while in transit.

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The service’s community paramedics provide medical home visits and respond to behavioral health crises. They collaborate with community agencies — including Your Hope Center, Vail Health, MIRA Bus, law enforcement, and other health care providers — to ensure community members receive the care they need.

Eagle County Paramedic Services has specialized teams, including law enforcement-certified tactical paramedics, wildland fire paramedics and EMTs, ski patrol paramedics, and helicopter hoist-certified paramedics supporting Vail Mountain Search & Rescue. They work alongside Vail and Beaver Creek ski patrols, six fire departments, three police departments, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, and other health care providers in the valley. We endeavor to provide highly trained EMS professionals anywhere in Eagle County, under any circumstances, to administer advanced care services to our residents and visitors. 

If you ever require emergency medical aid, know that Eagle County Paramedic Services is standing by 24/7 to provide skilled, professional and compassionate health care. During National EMS Week, take a moment to thank your local EMTs and paramedics for their invaluable service. You can reach out to Eagle County Paramedic Services through their websiteFacebookInstagram, or email at thankyou@ecparamedics.com to send them a quick note.

Brandon Daruna is the chief executive officer of Eagle County Paramedic Services.

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