Searsport Ambulance Service recognized for contributions to EMS
AUGUSTA – Searsport Ambulance Service was among 12 medical first response organizations honored for contributing to the betterment of Maine Emergency Medical Services during the past year.
National EMS statistics are now recognizing an increase in mental and physical stress to personnel due to increases in patient violence, substance abuse and mental health disorders. Searsport, like most Maine communities, has seen an increase in overdoses, Chief Adrian Stone said during the Wednesday, May 23, EMS Week awards ceremony at the State Capitol.
Yet, the town’s inclusion as an Excellence in EMS honoree came because the two paid personnel on staff, Stone and Asst. Chief Logan Clark, forged ahead with what some may consider just as equally daunting and stressful. New computer software.
In June 2017, Maine EMS went live with an online patient information database called Maine EMS Run Reporting System.
"When we do an ambulance call, that's where we record our information on the patient,” said Stone, who has also served as chief in St. George.
Hospitals can then access the database to obtain the patient information at the same time as the State is accumulating statistics.
Searsport went live in March 2017 as one of the first services, providing the state with feedback of the software that would soon accumulate data from the nearly 300,000 patients treated last year by more than 6,000 licensed emergency medical technicians.
Stone said: "We could have waited until June, but we decided to go onboard in March, just to help with the development of the system. Everybody was kind of hesitant. It's a new system, and it's a big part of what we do. I just figured, if we could get ahead of the curve a little bit, and help develop it, it would be better for all of us.”
Several years ago, Bucksport Fire and EMS took on the online program, absorbed it, and then trained other departments prior to the transition to a statewide database, according to Bucksport Chief Craig Bowden.
Winterport Volunteer Ambulance Service also received recognition for Excellence in EMS.
At its inception, the role of emergency medical technician meant solely transporting the sick or injured to a hospital. EMTs and paramedics provided a vehicle, a siren and a heavy foot. Yet, times have changed. Technology has changed. And people have changed.
“You don’t always feel appreciated, but there are a lot of people out there who always appreciate you,” Bowden said. “It’s different than it was years ago. Some of the stuff is on a whole different level. It’s nice to see the people who are doing it honored.”
Wiscassett Ambulance Service received Gold-level HeartSafe Community recognition for its community education and availability of CPR and AEDs, pre-arrival emergency medical instructions provided by dispatchers, paramedics availability, and advanced cardiac monitoring capability.
Drexell W. White of Northport received the Governor’s Award for exceptional contribution to the EMS system at the state, national, or system-wide level; with contributions in multiple areas of EMS.
According to Chief Scott Susi, chair of the Board of Maine EMS, EMS is not a profession of wealth and fame. Instead, it is an organization of individuals who turn people’s fears into hope while helping people through the worst days of their lives.
“EMTs and paramedics are the outreach of healthcare to all of our communities,” he said. “Under the bright lights and sirens and behind the loud sirens, real people are there to care for the public when called upon.”
Sarah Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org