EMS1 | EMS advocacy and adaptability with Shawn Baird

EMS1 Interview of AAA President Shawn Baird by AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence

As we enter, hopefully, a happier new year, several of our national associations that have been at the forefront of collaborative advocacy efforts and the voices of the EMS profession have undergone planned changes in their leadership.

To welcome in 2021, I sat down, via Zoom, with Shawn Baird, incoming president of the American Ambulance Association and asked him about 2020 and his thoughts on the future of our industry. Shawn is the vice president for rural services with MetroWest Ambulance Family of Companies in Oregon. Shawn spent the last two years serving the AAA as president elect and has been at the center of AAA activity and advocacy.

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NYT | With Virus Surging, EMS’s Job Just Got Harder

From The New York Times on December 29, 2020

With Virus Surging, Ambulance Workers’ Hard Job Just Got Harder

By Gabriella Angotti-Jones

Emergency medical technicians for Amwest Ambulance have worked with coronavirus patients in Los Angeles since March. During this surge of cases in California, roughly 40 percent of the patients they transport are considered “Covid-19 probable.”

The day begins with calls to the dispatch center. Linze Thompson, 26, records information: the state of patients’ health, their coronavirus test results and safety precautions the E.M.T.s must take.

The dispatcher notes an estimated time for patient pickup and contacts the crew on call. Crews time each transport down to the minute.

Once on location, Joshua Berrios, 30, dons a mask, gown, face shield, goggles and gloves. The E.M.T.s approach each scene as if the patient were positive for the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 EMS Association Thank You Video

#EMS association leaders say THANK YOU to #paramedics, #EMTs, #dispatchers, and other #MobileHealthcare professionals. Thank you for serving on the very front lines of our nation’s #COVID19 response!

Thank you to Matt Zavadsky for creating this video!

COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group Vax Videos

The Federal Pre-Hospital / EMS COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group put together two wonderful videos to encourage EMS providers to get both the COVID-19 vaccination and seasonal flu shot. Please share with your staff!

Watch Video 1: https://vimeo.com/492847212/3682909c4c

Watch Video 2: https://vimeo.com/492847424/d5a17f6b4c

 

 

EMS.gov | DOT Recognizes NHTSA OEMS Staff with Prestigious Awards

Congratulations to Kate Elkins and OEMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD!

From EMS.Gov

DOT SECRETARY RECOGNIZES KATE ELKINS, JON KROHMER WITH PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has awarded Kate Elkins the Secretary’s Award for her dedication to improving emergency services. An EMS specialist for NHTSA’s Office of EMS, Kate received the honor for her commitment to making a positive impact on EMS and 911 systems. From overseeing the allocation of $109 million in federal 911 grants, to collaborating with federal colleagues, to increasing awareness about mental health and suicide in public safety, she approaches her work with enthusiasm and passion.

Tireless in her efforts to advocate for EMS clinicians and 911 telecommunicators, Kate has provided countless hours of her time, expertise, and experience in doing what she does best—helping others. For example, Kate has focused on efforts to improve EMS pandemic response, serving as the deputy team lead of the Prehospital (EMS/911) Team as part of the HHS/FEMA COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group. At the same time, she continued to serve her local community as a paramedic, chief officer and EMS and public health educator.

The secretary also honored the leaders of the department’s response to the COVID-19 health emergency with a gold medal for outstanding achievement, including Jon Krohmer, MD, director of the NHTSA Office of EMS. Every member of the Office of EMS team has contributed tirelessly to the department’s response and to the interagency COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group.

Congratulations to Kate and the entire team for their outstanding achievements and contributions.

AJC | Vaccine campaign dawns in Georgia; Kemp attends 2nd day of doses

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution on December 16

Vaccine campaign dawns in Georgia; Kemp attends 2nd day of doses

… Chatham EMS Chief Chuck Kearns got the call Tuesday. His paramedics are in line for vaccination appointments next week, and his staff immediately prepared a blast email to go out first thing Wednesday on how to sign up.

“We’ve had over 100 personnel who’ve gone into quarantine at one time or another since March,” Kearns said. “When they got the result of tests for quarantine, days were cut in half. We’ve had a few dozen of our employees test positive and some were hospitalized.” He added that this is the 10th epidemic he’s worked as a paramedic, starting with AIDS. To him, his staff’s vaccines are arriving fast enough.

“We’re very relieved,” Kearns said.

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National Academies | Vaccine Confidence Information Gathering Session

Friday. December 18, 2020
11:30–16:00 ET

Register Free

To inform a forthcoming rapid expert consultation on building public confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) of the National Academies will hold an information gathering session on vaccine confidence. The session will cover the current state of vaccine confidence, reasons for hesitancy, and best practices for messaging. Facilitated discussions will incorporate special attention to communities at higher risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19, including underserved and vulnerable communities. Drawing from what is known about reaching and engaging diverse audiences to change beliefs and attitudes, this session will illustrate strategies that are likely to promote uptake of FDA-approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19.

This project is being done in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats.

Register Free

LED lights found to kill coronavirus

From Tel Aviv University on December 14

LED lights found to kill coronavirus: Global first in fight against COVID-19

TAU finding suggests technology can be installed in air conditioning, vacuum, and water systems

Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have proven that the coronavirus can be killed efficiently, quickly, and cheaply using ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs). They believe that the UV-LED technology will soon be available for private and commercial use.

This is the first study conducted on the disinfection efficiency of UV-LED irradiation at different wavelengths or frequencies on a virus from the family of coronaviruses. The study was led by Professor Hadas Mamane, Head of the Environmental Engineering Program at TAU’s School of Mechnical EngineeringIby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering. The article was published in November 2020 issue of the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology.

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ACEP | EMS Priority Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank you to ACEP for the following statement.

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Fox | ‘What if you call EMS and nobody comes?’

From Fox News by Hunter Davis on December 10

Coronavirus crippling emergency response agencies: ‘What if you call EMS and nobody comes?’

DALLAS, Texas – The coronavirus pandemic has strained the country’s hospital systems and pushed front-line workers mentally and physically as the number of cases spikes upward again. Some agencies dealing with budget issues due to demand in personal protective equipment (PPE) and an uptick in calls have been forced to shutter, begging the question of who will respond in the event of an emergency?

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WaPo | Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point’

From the Washington Post by William Wan on December 3, 2020

Pandemic is pushing America’s 911 system to ‘breaking point,’ ambulance operators say
Surging demand, financial strain are leaving ambulance teams exhausted and running out of funds

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed America’s 911 system and emergency responders to a “breaking point,” with ambulance operators exhausted and their services financially strained, according to the group that represents them.

The situation since the novel coronavirus struck last winter has grown so dire that the American Ambulance Association recently begged the Department of Health and Human Services for $2.6 billion in emergency funding.

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CNN | 911 emergency medical system in US ‘at a breaking point’

From CNN Health by Shelby Lin Erdman on December 2, 2020

(CNN)With the Covid-19 surge straining America’s health care system, the 911 emergency call system has been stretched to “the breaking point,” the American Ambulance Association says.

Ambulance services are critical in getting sick patients to hospitals for care, and the American Ambulance Association, which represents all of the nation’s ambulance services, said they are struggling to stay together.
Hospitalizations have reached an all-time high with more than 100,200 admissions, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And more than 3,100 deaths were reported Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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The Hill | 911 system at ‘breaking point,’ AAA Says

From The Hill by Zack Budryk on December 3, 2020

911 system at ‘breaking point,’ American Ambulance Association says

The American Ambulance Association has warned that the emergency response system has reached a “breaking point” as the coronavirus rages across the country in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The 911 emergency medical system throughout the United States is at a breaking point,” Aarron Reinert, the president of the American Ambulance Association, said in the Nov. 25 letter, obtained by The Hill. “Without additional relief, it seems likely to break, even as we enter the third surge of the virus in the Mid-West and West.”

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NBC | Ambulance companies at ‘a breaking point’ after receiving little Covid aid

From NBC News by Phil McCausland on December 1, 2020

Stefan Hofer’s ambulance company, West Traill EMS, in Mayville, North Dakota, has received only one or two calls that weren’t related to Covid-19 over the past two months. But he said the case count has ballooned by 20 to 30 percent because of the pandemic. At the same time, the company’s expenses have mounted, its revenue has cratered and its workforce is being decimated by the virus.

The company — which is private and supported by volunteers, a few employees and four trucks — covers more than 1,500 miles of North Dakota prairie and serves about 10,000 people on the far east side of the state.

Private EMS services, both in urban and rural centers across the country, collectively received $350 million in Covid-19 relief funds in April, but those companies said that money ran out within weeks. Months later, the need remains great as they face another coronavirus surge.

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NYT | Family Decontamination Station

From the New York Times

Their Pandemic Safety Plan Starts With a ‘Decontamination Station’
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the lives of many American families. Follow this weekly feature called “Family, Interrupted” to find out how.

Quentin and Stacy Blakley opened the “decontamination station” in their home garage as the coronavirus pandemic took root in Georgia in March and have never shut it down. Mr. Blakley, 45, an Atlanta firefighter based at the city’s international airport, uses it to protect his family from a job that exposes him to strangers daily. At the end of each 24-hour shift attending to aircraft emergencies and medical calls, he returns to his South Fulton, Ga., home and removes his uniform in the garage. No exceptions. He showers away from Stacy, 45, and their four sons — ages 14, 12 and a set of 9-year-old twins — then dumps his clothing in a bag to be washed. Finally, Mr. Blakley walks into his house.

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NYT | The Long Darkness Before Dawn

From the New York Times

The Long Darkness Before Dawn

With vaccines and a new administration, the pandemic will be tamed. But experts say the coming months “are going to be just horrible.”

The nation now must endure a critical period of transition, one that threatens to last far too long, as we set aside justifiable optimism about next spring and confront the dark winter ahead. Some epidemiologists predict that the death toll by March could be close to twice the 250,000 figure that the nation surpassed only last week.

“The next three months are going to be just horrible,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health and one of two dozen experts interviewed by The New York Times about the near future.

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