Celebrating EMS week; honoring dispatchers

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 4:31 PM PDT
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The third week of May honors those in emergency services for their dedicated work on the front lines.

Working through a pandemic is tough for everyone, especially those in healthcare.

Dr. Jenny Wilson is REMSA's medical leadership director.

She said it's all about remaining calm and assessing the situation.

"Them guiding you on how to help your loved one or person you found lying on the sidewalk is really vital for the outcome on who you're calling about," said Dr. Wilson.

She said now more than ever is a good reminder to honor those who serve us.

REMSA dispatchers are all medically trained and have at least an EMT certification, which shows the amount of time and dedication put to helping serve our community.

"Especially right now they're putting themselves in harm's way more than ever," explained Dr. Wilson. "They are arriving on a scene they know nothing about, potentially exposing themselves and they do this everyday."

Navigating through the pandemic is new for everyone, even for Aaron Abbott who has more than 10 years of experience in the EMS field.

"It seems to be an adjustment everyday, how long people are on scene, the type of calls we're seeing are adjusting," said Abbott. "So none of the normal things that we expect to see are occurring."

Abbott said call volume has been down 30% since March, which has helped reduce the load of burnout.

"It's beginning to open up a little bit so it helps to get some of the load off," Abbott added. "Normally we would have a lot more resources out there, we had to make little adjusts and give the crew more time off. Whenever a crew displays any kind of illness or sickness that may or may not be related to COVID, we assume that they shouldn't be working and we've provided additional days off and we try to support our crews by providing healthy meals."

This year makes it hard to celebrate EMS week.

With social distancing guidelines, contact is limited.

"Anyone out there, you know who you are, I couldn't begin to name them," explained Abbott. "The amount of businesses out there, thank you on behalf of our medical staff for all the support you provide, it means the world to them and means the world to us."

Abbott encourages the community to reach out, a simple thank you goes a long way.

REMSA is a non-profit healthcare provider.

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