2021 Ambulance Ride-Along Toolkit

AAA ambulance emt member legislation

2021 Ride-Along Toolkit Now Available!

Educating your members of Congress about ambulance industry issues makes them more likely to support our policy efforts. An easy and effective way to educate them is to invite them to participate in a local Ambulance Ride-Along!

Congress has adjourned for summer recess and members have returned home to their districts and states. This is the perfect opportunity for you to educate your members of Congress about our issues, in particular our Medicare Ambulance Bill, Balance Billing, and access to the Provider Relief Fund, which are all essential to your service.

The most effective way to deliver these key messages is to host your member of Congress or their staff on a tour of your operation and an ambulance ride-along. While COVID-19 has made a traditional ride-along difficult, you can still host them for a virtual site visit to show your operation and how you are handling the public health emergency. The AAA has made the process of arranging a ride-long or scheduling a meeting easy for you with our 2021 Congressional Ride-Along Toolkit.

Everything you need to arrange the ride-along or schedule a meeting during this time of social distancing and virtual participation is included in the Toolkit. Act now and invite your elected officials to join you on an Ambulance Ride-Along!

Into the Unknown Documentary to Tell Paramedics’ Stories

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 11, 2021

Media Contact:

Tonya Mantooth
Executive Producer
tonya@intotheunknown.com
858-945-8912

Documentary to Tell Paramedics’ Stories

“Into the Unknown: The Paramedics’ Journey,” Produced by “Emergency!” Stars Randy Mantooth and Kevin Tighe, in Pre-Production

LOS ANGELES—The 1970s TV show Emergency! introduced the concept of paramedics to millions of viewers and inspired thousands to become EMS practitioners themselves. Some historians say it launched modern EMS in the U.S.

Now the two stars of the show are coproducing a documentary to tell the story of today’s paramedic—following a pandemic that strained our healthcare system and revealed the critical role paramedics play in caring for their communities.

“My life was saved by two firefighter paramedics,” said Randy Mantooth, who played Johnny Gage in the Emergency! series. “My sister’s life was saved by a paramedic and a flight nurse. They literally gave us our lives back, and yet I don’t even know their names.”

“Overworked, sometimes overlooked, and nearly always taken for granted, paramedics are real-world heroes,” Mantooth said. “My hope is that Into the Unknown will provide the public with an understanding of and appreciation for the critical role these individuals play.”

“Paramedics have to deal with unending fatigue and stress,” said Kevin Tighe, who played Roy Desoto in the series. “This is a topic we have to explore not only on the job but also at home. We have to face it and also show how it can be successfully overcome.”

FirstNet, Built with AT&T* is the principal sponsor of the project, which will realistically depict the lives and jobs of half a dozen paramedic crews around the nation. Additional sponsors supporting the documentary’s production include Masimo and ZOLL Medical Corporation.

EMS World is a media partner of the project.

“This project brings awareness of the vital role EMS plays and highlights the very real impacts to the personal health and wellness of these individuals,” said Lynnée Hopson, assistant vice president, FirstNet Marketing at AT&T. AT&T holds the federal contract to build and maintain FirstNet.

“Stories like these are why we’re committed to supporting FirstNet. And it’s one of the reasons we launched the FirstNet Health and Wellness Program. Paramedics—and all the first responders they represent—need our support as they face daunting challenges in delivering care in every situation imaginable.”

The project has an advisory board made up of 18 key industry leaders and is endorsed by 20 of the major national EMS organizations, representing almost 2 million members. Baxter Larmon, PhD, a nationally recognized EMS educator/researcher and professor of emergency medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, serves on the executive committee for Into the Unknown.

“Throughout my four-decade career and in my travel and interactions with every type of stakeholder in the EMS profession, I’ve found they all have one thing in common,” Larmon said. “They believe the U.S. public doesn’t understand what EMS is about and what paramedics do day to day, one patient at a time, to make sure they are cared for, safe, and end up where they belong.

“Whether it’s a senior who has fallen, a teenager who has overdosed, a middle-age woman in cardiac arrest, or the victim of a severe car crash,” he continued, “these are people often facing the worst days of their lives—we’re there to help. This documentary will go a long way in ensuring that the public understands who we are, what we do, and why we matter.”

In additional to Larmon, the executive team includes executive producer Tonya Mantooth, sister to Randy Mantooth, a 10-time Regional Emmy award winner, and Steve Martin, assistant fire chief (retired), Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Find out more about the documentary, the advisory committee, and the organizations supporting it at intotheunknowndoc.com. You can also sign up to get regular updates on the progress of the documentary and behind-the-scenes stories and footage.

ITU Doc LLC is dedicated to telling the stories of today’s paramedics through documentary film. It has an advisory board made up of 18 key industry leaders and has been endorsed by 20 major national EMS organizations, representing almost 2 million members nationwide. Learn more about the project at intotheunknowndoc.com.

Rest in Peace, Jacob Dindinger

From Global Medical Response

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Jacob’s family made the decision to remove him from life support. This decision did not come easy; it came after many tests and conversations and much consideration to his condition. Jacob fought hard, but unfortunately the injuries he sustained were so damaging, he was not able to survive them.

Jacob made such a big impact in our community with each interaction he had. He was dedicated and driven to succeed and continually looking for his next accomplishment. To Jacob, failure was a setback, but it didn’t stop him from working harder to succeed. His family meant everything to him, and the smiles we have seen in recent photos show the love he had for his family and friends. He made an even bigger impact on our family here at AMR and we feel like we are all better people after being touched by Jacob and his family.

These past two weeks have been difficult for the entire GMR family. We appreciate all the support you have given to our local teams as well as the family. CISM teams have been working in Arizona to help our teams there, and GMR Life teams have been offering support across all our operations. I encourage you to reach out to them and to our HR teams, and to use EAP resources.

When final arrangements have been made, we will notify our local teams.

If you would like to help the family, a Go Fund Me account has been established.

Thank you,

Glenn Kasprzyk, Southwest Region President
Jackie Evans, Regional Director
Global Medical Response

NHTSA | Office of EMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD, to Retire

NHTSA Office of EMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD, to Retire Later this Year

After 15 years of federal service, including the last five leading the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS, Jon Krohmer, MD, will be retiring in November.

During his tenure as director, Dr. Krohmer and the NHTSA Office of EMS team oversaw a number of milestones for the profession, including the creation of EMS Agenda 2050; major revisions to the National EMS Scope of Practice Model and the National EMS Education Standards; and improvements in the collection and use of EMS data through the expansion of the National EMS Information System. Soon after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Krohmer was tapped to lead the prehospital/911 team as part of the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force.

“Dr. Krohmer’s tenure at NHTSA—especially over the last year and a half as EMS clinicians have faced one of the greatest public health challenges in generations—has been marked by real advances for the profession, thanks in no small part to his leadership,” said Nanda Srinivasan, NHTSA’s associate administrator for research and program development. “He was a true advocate at the federal level for state, tribal and local EMS systems, EMS clinicians, and patients.”

Prior to joining NHTSA, Dr. Krohmer had decades of experience as a local EMS medical director, initially in his home state of Michigan. His EMS career began as an EMT with a volunteer rescue squad. Like many EMS professionals, he was inspired by the television show Emergency! and by the emergence of the relatively new field of emergency medicine. He entered medical school at the University of Michigan knowing he wanted to make EMS his career. After becoming involved in EMS at the state and national level, he also served as president of the National Association of EMS Physicians from 1998 to 2000. In 2006, he came to Washington to serve as the first deputy chief medical officer for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Health Affairs and served in several other DHS roles before joining NHTSA in 2016.

“Working alongside EMS clinicians and the people who support them at local, state and national levels has been a privilege and a heck of a lot of fun,” said Dr. Krohmer. “The decision to leave NHTSA was difficult, but it’s made easier knowing that the team in the Office of EMS, our colleagues throughout the federal government, and leaders of EMS at state and local levels are committed to improving the lives of people in their communities and will continue to advance EMS systems everywhere.”

NHTSA will launch a national search for a new director for the Office of EMS.

“The example set by Dr. Krohmer will serve as a great model for the next director,” said Associate Administrator Srinivasan, “and the team of dedicated public servants at the Office of EMS has the experience and expertise to ensure a smooth transition.”

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

From NEMSIS on May 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

Salt Lake City, Utah, May 11, 2021 – The National Emergency Medical Services Information System Technical
Assistance Center (NEMSIS TAC) today announced the availability of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset,
the largest publicly available dataset of emergency medical service activations in the United States. With this
release, NEMSIS aims to improve understanding of, confidence in, and support for EMS data collection and
analysis that will lead to data being utilized more effectively to improve patient care.

“The 2020 dataset is a powerful asset for researchers looking into all manner of conditions that affect different
aspects of EMS service.,” said Dr. N. Clay Mann, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of
Utah School of Medicine and Principal Investigator for the NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center. “Hopefully, the
information gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic will help give EMS agencies valuable insight on their work
improving EMS services under all sorts of conditions.”

The 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset is a subset of the National EMS Database that is the repository for
EMS data collected from U.S. States and Territories. NEMSIS maintains the national standard for how patient
care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is collected. The dataset includes
43,488,767 EMS activations submitted by 12,319 EMS agencies servicing 50 states and territories.

Those interested in requesting a copy of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset can contact the NEMSIS TAC
and fill out a request form at their website https://nemsis.org/using-ems-data/request-research-data. A
password-protected USB drive containing the dataset, the 2020 NEMSIS Data User Manual, NEMSIS Data
Dictionary v3.4.0, Extended Data Definitions v3.4.0, and sample SAS code file will be sent via postal service.

ABOUT NEMSIS

The National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) is the national health information
exchange and database used to collect and store EMS data from states and territories. NEMSIS is a universal
standard for how patient care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is
collected. It is a collaborative system to improve patient care through the standardization, aggregation, and
utilization of point-of-care EMS data at a local, state, and national level.
NEMSIS is a program of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and is hosted at the University of Utah.

Video | TrueNorth Companies | Affiliate Member

Sponsored post by AAA affiliate member TrueNorth Companies

Download Flyer

At TrueNorth, we believe commercial ambulance providers face unique and complex risks. Due to the ever-changing nature of the industry, failure to adapt can result in an insurance program that is both inadequate and inaccurate, leaving your business at risk for uncovered claims, fines, penalties, and litigation.

As a result of our focus and experience working within the EMS industry, we are uniquely qualified to handle the difficult exposures an ambulance service may face.

Watch the video below for a look into TrueNorth’s Ambulance Risk Management Program and the partnership created with our clients.

Have questions? Contact Clay Swanson at cswanson@truenorthcompanies.com!

American Ambulance Association affiliate members can share resources with our membership through the AAA Affinity Program.

HealthAffairs | Boston OHCA Outcomes During the Pandemic

From HealthAffairs

Worse Cardiac Arrest Outcomes During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Boston Can Be Attributed To Patient Reluctance To Seek Care

Abstract

Delays in seeking emergency care stemming from patient reluctance may explain the rise in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and associated poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study we used emergency medical services (EMS) call data from the Boston, Massachusetts, area to describe the association between patients’ reluctance to call EMS for cardiac-related care and both excess out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and related outcomes during the pandemic. During the initial COVID-19 wave, cardiac-related EMS calls decreased (−27.2 percent), calls with hospital transportation refusal increased (+32.5 percent), and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence increased (+35.5 percent) compared with historical baselines. After the initial wave, although cardiac-related calls remained lower (−17.2 percent), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence remained elevated (+24.8 percent) despite fewer COVID-19 infections and relaxed public health advisories. Throughout Boston’s fourteen neighborhoods, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence was significantly associated with decreased cardiac-related calls, but not with COVID-19 infection rates. These findings suggest that patients were reluctant to obtain emergency care. Efforts are needed to ensure that patients seek timely care both during and after the pandemic to reduce potentially avoidable excess cardiovascular disease deaths.

More At HealthAffairs

Study | Rural hospital closures strain community ambulance services

Research Brief From the University of Michigan on May 25

Rural hospital closures force patients in affected communities to travel longer distances for specialized or emergency care. A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health shows that such closures place similar strain on emergency medical service (EMS) providers trying to get patients to the hospital or another facility as quickly as possible.

The study was led by Associate Professor Sayeh Nikpay and recently published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

The study found:

  • The average length of ambulance trips for municipal EMS agencies went up 22% in locations of recent rural hospital closures.

  • The average length of ambulance trips for private EMS agencies increased 10% in those areas.

  • Interfacility transfers and non-emergency EMS trips fell by 31% for all agencies.

  • The total number of trips did not change, likely because many agencies are already operating at full capacity and must prioritize emergency calls over transfers and non-emergency transportation after hospitals close.

Read Full Research Brief

CNN | Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers

From CNN on May 22, 2021

Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers. In some places, the fallout could be nobody responding to a 911 call

America’s rural ambulance services, often sustained by volunteers, are fighting for their survival — a crisis hastened by the impact of Covid-19.

More than one-third of all rural EMS are in danger of closing, according to Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “The pandemic has further stretched the resources of our nation’s rural EMS.”

Read Full Article

ABC | Global microchip shortage impacting ambulance supply

May 21, 2021 | By Mina Kaji and Amanda Maile | Read Full Story

“Without those chassis, the production of ambulances essentially slows down dramatically,” American Ambulance Association Spokesman Mark Van Arnam said. “So that becomes a public safety issue.”

Chassis inventories were already at “historically low levels” due to coronavirus shutting down manufacturing plants, Van Arnam explained.

In order to make an ambulance, manufacturers need to first construct a chassis, or frame, to build it on.

“An ambulance chassis contains dozens and dozens of microchips — more microchips than the average F-150,” Van Arnam said.

Read Full Story

Rescue, Inc. | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Rescue, Inc.
Brattleboro, Vermont
Facebook

Rescue Inc is a private non-profit service in Southern Vermont. Founded in 1966 as a volunteer organization responding to local emergency calls, Rescue today is mission-driven; providing emergency medical treatment and transportation, specialized rescue services, community education, and transportation of critical patients between area hospitals. Out of two stations, and with a fleet of 9 ambulances and 3 response vehicles, we provide timely and efficient service in our five hundred square mile coverage area in Southern Vermont and Southwestern New Hampshire.

“EMS week gives us the chance to celebrate and spotlight the care, compassion, and skill our providers tirelessly demonstrate. Through long nights, bad weather, and now pandemics, our health care providers continue to inspire. On behalf of grateful patients and families, I thank you!”
– Drew Hazelton, Chief

2020 has brought the challenges of COVID-19 and supply line shortages, but also the development of new programs including EMS ultrasound, EMT hybrid courses, and a mobile vaccination program to our community.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Rescue Inc stepped in with resources to engage in critical work for public health. In collaboration with the health department, Rescue Inc provided expanded transport capabilities; transporting COVID positive persons to isolation facilities for recovery. Our crew of medical providers staffed pop-up testing sites and have screened thousands. As a way to limit exposure, our providers were called upon to facilitate mobile testing and would travel to test a single person or a whole family in their own homes. Once the vaccine became available, Rescue Inc designed a mobile vaccine trailer and worked with the Vermont Department of Health to facilitate clinics all over the state. In the spirit of our mission, we continue to bring healthcare on the road. We have vaccinated thousands – at schools, restaurants, race tracks, and more.

“EMS providers are educated members of your community that provide prehospital care that saves lives every day. When the tone drops they set aside everything and put themselves into emergency situations to care for those that they value; their community.”
~Lee Bookwalter, EMT

This year our community is feeding us for EMS Week! Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for our duty crews are being provided by area restaurants for each day of this special week! Our vaccine trailer will be on the road all week, celebrating EMS by supporting the mission of health and wellness for our community.

“When we are called to a scene, whether it be an MVA, a stroke, or an anxiety attack, we legitimately just want to be there for someone during their time of need. Sometimes that means medical intervention, and sometimes just lending a hand to hold. Long story short, we just have love for people!”
~Zach Gilbeau, EMT

“I believe EMS is important because we are always there. No matter what day of the week, time of day, or what your emergency is, we will show up and take care of you.”
~Emily Wilson, Paramedic/Captain

Harris County Emergency Corps | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Harris County Emergency Corps
Houston, Texas
Facebook

Committed to preserving lives through clinical excellence, progressive medicine, and professional service, Harris County Emergency Corps (HCEC) is a premier EMS agency and the only Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services accredited agency with headquarters in Houston. HCEC was the first EMS agency formed in the state of Texas. Serving approximately 400,000 citizens, HECE provides 911 EMS operations in north Houston for Harris County Emergency Services District No. 1. HCEC also provides event medical coverage across Texas, trains clinicians with highly specialized classes, communicates with 11 other agencies through our innovative dispatch center and leads Houston’s first Community Health Paramedic Program.

Our organization changed, I believe, for the better. We overcame obstacles, and our remarkable team worked together like never before. I would like to thank each person involved for your commitment to our organization and the community we serve. I appreciate the work you do each and every day. — Jeremy Hyde, CEO

COVID-19 Response

Year 2020 was a year like no other. The COVID-19 Pandemic affected every person globally, and we are still living in a world of mask-wearing and sanitizing stations.

Our 9-1-1 call volumes were drastically reduced for the first few months of 2020. Almost immediately, PPE was on a national shortage. HCEC preserved resources and did not suffer any PPE shortage. Employees were never in jeopardy for not having protective equipment. Then COVID infection rates started increasing, which increased our 9-1-1 call volume to exceed any previous record in history.

During the time of significant volume increases, employees got the virus. Other staff stepped up to fill needed roles. Event staff helped fill in additional ambulances for COVID response. Field staff took a place in dispatch to help screen calls. The Dispatch Center and field staff worked together to ensure the calls were made appropriately with the right precautions.

EMS Week Celebrations

HCEC is hosting a reunion with a Pediatric CPR family, celebrating service awards, hosting a crawfish boil and hosting a blood drive.

“EMS continues to evolve beyond traditional ambulance transport. Not only do we serve as the community’s medical safety net, but we have also begun the transition to true mobile integrated health care. Progressive EMS agencies across the country are now involved with trauma and disease prevention, implementing community paramedic programs, and reducing preventable hospital admissions. EMS is a critical part of our health care system overhaul. We should be proud of where we are and where we are going!
-Corey Naranjo BSN, RN, LP, CP-C

“EMS is often the link between poor health and a healthy outcome. It can also quite literally be the difference between death and life of a person.” – Steven Nelson MHA, LP, In-Charge Paramedic,

“EMS is a vital corner of the first responder triangle. As EMS personnel we not only increase the survivability of major incidents, but we also bring knowledge to the public to help all in need.” -Blake King EMT-P, FTO-1, In-Charge Paramedic

Waterbury Ambulance | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Waterbury Ambulance
Waterbury, Vermont
Facebook

Waterbury Ambulance Service was founded in 1971, since then, we’ve grown significantly, but at our core we are still a group of highly skilled, committed volunteers and staff, ready at a moment’s notice to save a life, or just lend a helping hand. We provide 911 coverage to the towns of Waterbury, Duxbury and parts of Moretown, Vermont as well as mutual aid to our neighboring communities. Waterbury Ambulance provide interfacility transfers when we have the staff available. We have two ambulances, 15 advanced EMTs, 19 Emergency Medical Technicians, and four drivers. We also provide CPR, First Aid, Car Seat Fitting and Stop the Bleed Trainings.

Waterbury Ambulance also supports The Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team which was founded in 2002, in order to lead the search and rescue of patients injured or lost in areas of Vermont where an ambulance is not able to readily access. Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team is composed of a specially trained crew of rescuers and EMTs, who locate, extricate, and field treat patients, bringing them to an area which can be accessed by ambulance.

“This year has been a remarkable one. I am inspired by the way Waterbury Ambulance’s Team has stepped up in uncertain times to ensure the safety of themselves and our community”
–Mark Podgwaite, Executive Director

Covid-19 impacted Waterbury Ambulance by initially creating additional training and safety requirements. The team responded quickly ensuring that we provide the best possible care to our community during a scary time. The State of Vermont reached out to Waterbury Ambulance asking if we could support the state in Covid-19 testing. Waterbury Ambulance rose to the occasion by teaming up with two other ambulance services and a local ski patrol to provide testing 7 days a week at three different locations throughout our region. To date Waterbury Ambulance has provided tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests to the community. Waterbury Ambulance then hit the road providing vaccines to home-bound Vermonters. We have also helped the State of Vermont staff vaccine clinics and National Guard Clinics.

“EMS is so vitally important because we provide frontline medical care for our communities of neighbors, family, friends, colleagues and even those we haven’t met yet. We do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Whether it’s a car crash with injuries, heart attack, overdose, or a pandemic, our communities depend on us to jump in and give the best care possible at any moment’s notice.” -Kristen Hamel, AEMT

“I believe that EMS is vital because we all need someone in our times of need to be that outside person to be kind, caring, and compassionate to our personal emergencies. Someone to validate our physical & emotional pain/suffering/ distress. Someone who you can trust with your life to get you the care you need, advocative for you, and ease your worries.” -Vicki Fielding, AEMT

Waterbury Ambulance is celebrating EMS week by supporting and providing Vaccination clinics around the state, covering 911 calls and providing 7-day a week Covid testing.

“EMS plays a key role into the prevention of death and disease processes in a community. The stronger the EMS organization, the better the community can grow and flourish” -Tom Leeman, AEMT

“EMS is important to me because we as ems providers are a small light at the beginning of a very dark tunnel for some people” -Kayla Reed, Driver/Future EMT

 

East Baton Rouge EMS | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

East Baton Rouge EMS
Baton Rouge, Lousiana
Facebook | Twitter

About East Baton Rouge EMS

East Baton Rouge EMS is a municipal service that originated on August 6th, 1982. The Department is funded by a property tax and insurance billing. EBREMS is the primary ALS provider for the parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Unlike most systems, all 911 calls in the parish are first answered by EBREMS Medics. East Baton Rouge Parish is 456sq/mi and is comprised of the City of Baton Rouge and the towns of Zachary, Baker and Central. With a total population +440,000, East Baton Rouge is the Capitol of the State of Louisiana and is the home of two major Universities.

EBREMS operates 11 EMS stations with 24 ambulances, 20 sprint vehicles, 1 mass casualty unit and 3 ASAP carts. There are 138 Field Medics, 9 Shift supervisors, Division managers, and 32 communications officers. EBREMS responds to approximately 64,000 calls per year. In addition to responding to 911 calls, EBREMS also offers Telemedicine, Event coverage, HAZ-MAT, CISM, Bicycle, and Special Response Teams. A new Bariatric unit has just been purchased along with 16 new ambulances. The new fleet will go into operation in July.

Our COVID-19 Response

A response plan to COVID was discussed in March 2020. The first order was to acquire enough PPE for our medics in the field. PPE included P-100 masks, goggles, and isolation kits. Two ambulances were converted into “COVID units” by using plastic sheeting to block the walk-through access of the units and the ALS cabinet. The units were stocked with an abundance of disinfectant and PPE. 12 medics volunteered to work on these units and only respond to COVID-related calls. The intention was to isolate the cab of the truck from the patient compartment, and limit exposure to the rest of the field by only using the assigned medics for these types of calls. 911 Operators began asking COVID screening questions, and would relay the information to the responding unit. Every patient was provided a surgical mask and the use of nebulizers was banned due to the aerosolization.

The Mayor declared a local public health emergency on March 13th. Schools, restaurants, bars, and non-essential businesses were closed and a “stay at home order” was implemented. 911 Operators began to see a surge in calls from the public asking COVID-related questions. This overwhelming number of non-emergent calls led to a Public Service campaign to inform the public not to call 911 for COVID questions. A new 211 number was utilized for these types of calls. Several testing sites opened throughout the parish, including one at the EBREMS Headquarters. Despite a large number of tests given, the percentage of positive tests was only about 7%.

East Baton Rouge lifted the Emergency Declaration in May 2020. Schools remained closed for a while, but offered virtual learning. Restaurants, Bars, Churches and non-essential businesses opened with limited capacity and mandated face mask requirements. Today EBR parish is 100% open, and EMS operation is back to pre-COVID status with the exception of continued use of face masks on every response.

“It is my belief that Baton Rouge EMS has some of the finest medics in the country and you would be hard pressed to find a better group of people to work with. Their dedication and professionalism through this last year’s pandemic has been nothing short of impressive. They care for their patients and their fellow first responders and treat them like family. It is an honor to work with all the medics here in Baton Rouge, and they deserve recognitions for the hard job that they do.”
-Chad Guillot
EMS Director
East Baton Rouge Parish EMS

How We Celebrate EMS Week

Every year our Public Information Officers work hard to promote the Department by doing interviews on Morning News shows, Submitting stories to the newspaper, and posting on Social Media. Our Paramedic Association purchases EMS Week gifts for the employees and also funds the annual Award Ceremony that is always held during EMS Week. The Administration Department provides lunch to the crews on each shift, and local hospitals also provide snacks and food at their hospitals for the field medics.

“We are a family-oriented department, and we treat the community like our own”
-Hillary Duncan, Paramedic

“We strive to meet the goals of our mission statement and continually adapt to fulfill the needs of our community”
-Otha Henry, Training Officer

“As EMS providers we value our community”
-Kerri Avara, Unit Commander

Podcast | EMS One-Stop on Rural EMS Funding

In this episode of EMS One-Stop With Rob Lawrence, Rob is joined by Justin Grohs, general manager at Great Falls Emergency Services, Montana. Grohs also serves the American Ambulance Association as chair of the Rural Task Force.
Together, they discuss the realities, challenges, and funding of rural EMS, where staffing and financial stressors have been further exacerbated by the pandemic.

Allina Health EMS | EMS Week 2021 Featured Service

Allina Health EMS
St. Paul, Minnesota
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Founded in 1920, the 600+ employees of Allina Health EMS serves over one million citizens in the communities surrounding the Minneapolis/St. Paul vicinity with 911, Critical Care and Interfacility transports. In addition, we provide Community Paramedics, Tactical Paramedics, EMS Education and Special Event support to the communities we serve. Our Communications Center answers one in ten 911 calls throughout the state of Minnesota, not only providing dispatching services for Allina Health EMS, but other EMS services throughout the state.

Our staff rose (and continues to rise) to the challenges that COVID-19 presents to us. Some parted with facial hair! The collaboration was evident when staff helped to inform our processes and procedures for PPE and communication at the beginning of COVID-19. Each day we were learning something new, whether it was PPE procedures, hospital information such as entrance and transfer of patient care changes or services available to support our essential working employees. Our Communications Center began revising questions asked of our 911 callers to help determine potential risks prior to the arrival of our ambulance crew and to inform the level of PPE needed. Whether it was a 911 response or an interfacility transfer, we continued to improve our processes so our staff was protected and prepared when responding to our patients.
Our Education department tested and transitioned to online platforms for continued internal education and our external educators came into the bases to provide Just in Time Training (JITT) to our staff so the practical application of equipment and PPE changes were able to be understood and practiced prior to use. Our EMS maintenance and inventory technicians helped to implement changes to our ambulances to protect both patients and staff from the virus through protective devices and the task of keeping up with equipment and stocking changes.

Our Emergency Operations Center strived to provide timely updates and information, which we did in traditional written and email form. In addition, to support a mobile and 24/7 workforce, we used technology to provide information through videos and update posts via a closed social media group for our employees.

During the start of the pandemic, a significant event took place in our area. We supported our local EMS and Public Safety partners as we experienced civil unrest as a result of the death of George Floyd. This time was demanding physically pandemic, the unrest and the summer increased our responses and it was emotionally demanding as we saw the toll both of these events took on our staff and our communities.

While COVID became a part of our regular responses, we moved into 2021 and experienced a workplace shooting at one of our clinics that our EMS staff responds to on a regular basis. The response to this event, the level of teamwork and dedication of our staff to providing exceptional care, highlights what makes Allina Health EMS one of the leaders in Minnesota EMS.

“Allina Health EMS providers show up everyday to be ready to respond to the needs of their community, whether it is a multi-vehicle crash on the freeway, a cardiac arrest of a grandparent or a new mom who is just scared and needs reassurance that her baby is okay. Our providers go above and beyond each day to take exceptional care of their patients and their communities. We are proud of everyone who supports the care of our communities and are looking forward to celebrating EMS Week 2021 with the team.” Susan Long, Vice President of Operations

EMS is important on many levels, but being there during a critical time of someone’s life is the most important to me. Being there to providing that voice of comfort to those who really need it, is the most rewarding part of all.
Kymberly Markgraf, EMT

Courage is being scared to death, but jumping in anyway. or Success is knowing another has breathed easier because of your help.
Kelly Pischke, Paramedic

EMS Week Celebrations

Food and fellowship are the highlights of this year’s EMS Week at Allina Health EMS! Physical distancing guidelines prevented us from having our typical EMS gatherings last year and hampered our ability to celebrate our Centennial Year of Service. We are looking forward to recognizing our staff in everyday interaction but especially during their week with safety measures in place during meals and activities during the week

NHTSA EMS.gov | EMS Week Video

From NHTSA’s Office of EMS on May 17, 2021

This week, May 16-22, 2021, we once again recognize the people of EMS by celebrating National EMS Week. We hope you’ll take a minute to watch this special message from the entire team here at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS.


This year’s EMS Week theme, “This is EMS: Caring for our Communities,” couldn’t be more appropriate. The past year has been a challenge, but it has also reminded people across the nation just how valuable emergency medical services systems—and most important, clinicians—are to our communities. This nation is in debt to all of the EMS clinicians and the people behind the scenes who show up every day with true professionalism and dedication.

From all of us here at the Office of EMS, NHTSA, and the Department of Transportation: Thank you.