HomeBensalem TimesCommissioners proclaim EMS Week in Bucks through May 25

Commissioners proclaim EMS Week in Bucks through May 25

Their lifesaving work is being celebrated, in addition to the fifth anniversary of the Mobile Stroke Unit

For the first responders: Local EMS providers celebrate the Bucks County Commissioners’ proclamation that marks May 19-25 as EMS Week. Source: BucksCounty.gov Livestream

It’s been 50 years since President Gerald Ford signed a presidential proclamation that established the first-ever National EMS Week, which recognized the 24/7, lifesaving work of emergency medical services providers. 

Five decades later, this annual tradition continues, with this year’s National EMS Week promoting the theme “Honoring Our Past, Forging Our Future.”

During the recent commissioners meeting, vice chair Bob Harvie read a proclamation that named Sunday, May 19, through Saturday, May 25, EMS Week in Bucks County. 

“In doing so, we join all Bucks County residents in thanking those who have dedicated their lives to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of others through the administration of swift, lifesaving medical treatment,” said Harvie.

On hand at the meeting was Chris Woods, deputy director of Bucks County EMS, who shared some impressive statistics. In 2023, the county’s 17 EMS agencies responded to approximately 65,000 incidents in under 14 minutes, and transported about 40,000 patients to a hospital for further evaluation, treatment and hospitalization. 

“Our agencies continue to do this with limited municipal support,” Woods explained. “However, during the peak of the COVID pandemic, the commissioners authorized $5.5 million in ARFA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding to assist agencies.” 

This week, said Woods, residents are encouraged to thank any EMS providers that they may encounter for their service. He added that community members are even invited to visit their local EMS agency to learn more about what they do.  

To celebrate National EMS Week, which is presented by the American College of Emergency Physicians in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, events and activities are taking place across the country.

Locally, a seminar is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 2400 Old Lincoln Highway in Trevose. Offered by Jefferson Health Northeast, the educational symposium features Jefferson experts and industry leaders speaking on the following topics: Pre-hospital Stroke Care Update; Advances in Endovascular Neurology; Lunch Panel Discussion: Healthcare Careers Re-imagined; Special Operations Case Review: Fall with Impalement; Physician Response 101; and Evolving Role of Interventional Radiology in Trauma. Attendees have the chance to win prizes. 

Additionally, the seminar is serving as a celebration for the fifth anniversary of the Mobile Stroke Unit. Launched in spring 2019, this collaborative effort between Bensalem Rescue Squad and the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson University Hospital treats stroke patients as quickly as possible. 

Eighty percent of strokes, of which 750,000 occur in the United States each year, are preventable, but every single minute counts when it comes to treatment. This is where the Mobile Stroke Unit comes in. Branded as a “lifesaver on wheels,” the ambulance is equipped with telemedicine capabilities, a CT scanner and certified members of a “Brain Rescue Team” who are trained to assess, test and treat patients in the field (including their own driveway) before they are transported to the emergency department.

In the Mobile Stroke Unit, brain images are transmitted through the CT scanner to the neurology team at Jefferson. If a stroke is found, the Brain Rescue Team administers clot-busting medication immediately, when it’s most effective. This process shaves precious minutes off treatment time, ultimately reducing the risk of disability and improving patient outcomes.

Bensalem Rescue Squad executive director Thomas Topley said, “The stroke program is really important to us because we’re able to get a job done that we were unable to do before. We’re actually going to bring world-class neuroscience to your driveway, and that’s not done anywhere in the region.”

Within its first year, the Mobile Stroke Unit responded to 286 emergency calls, with 139 of those patients exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Thanks to a collaborative partnership with Bucks County Rescue Squad, the ambulance expanded operation into Bristol Township and Bristol Borough. 

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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