CHINLE -- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel in Chinle celebrated National EMS Week, May 14-20, with a variety of activities promoting health and safety awareness. The theme for this year's commemoration was "EMSÉServing on Health Care's Front Line."
"This week was really busy as we held a variety of activities promoting EMS week," said Roann Burbank, an Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate (EMT-I) who works with Chinle EMS. "We had an Open House on Tuesday at the Chinle fire station with displays and refreshments."
A main supporter of Chinle EMS, Eagle Air Med, also had a display at the Open House.
"We were pleased to be invited again this year to participate in the Open House with Chinle EMS," said Eric Niven, Eagle Air Med Marketing Director. "We have two air ambulance aircraft based here in Chinle so we rub shoulders with Chinle EMS all the time and are always assisting each other."
EMS providers are often the first individuals to arrive at the scene of an accident. When a 911 call goes out, the EMS system is mobilized and EMS personnel are dispatched to the scene. Initial care and assessment are then made by the EMS team in contact with approving physicians and according to established protocols.
If additional care is needed, the patients are brought by ambulance to the local hospital where further assessment is made. Sometimes the patients are transported to other medical facilities for additional care by specialized ambulance organizations such as Eagle Air Med. Eagle Air Med's flight teams are comprised of a registered nurse and a Flight EMT-P so even at this critical stage, EMS is involved.
According to the National Register of Emergency Medical Technicians, there are more than 800,000 EMS providers across the country delivering medical care. They are supported by thousands of physicians and nurses from organizations such as Eagle Air Med.
Every state in the United States has an EMS agency or office and the Navajo Nation its own independent organization of which Chinle EMS is an integral part.
There are different levels of EMT licensure based upon training. The "First Responder" has about 40 hours of training while an EMT-Basic has around 110 hours, an EMT-Intermediate has between 200-400 hours and the EMT-P or Paramedic has more than 1,000 hours of training.
This training takes place at local colleges, technical schools, hospitals and EMS academies and universities throughout the United States. Burbank has been an EMT for two years and said she likes being an EMT-I.
"It takes a lot of training," Burbank said. "We are training all the time and obtain a lot of experience but I know I am trying to help people and that feels good," she said.
"I feel this year's EMS Week theme is very fitting and very accurate," Niven said. "EMS providers are really on the front line and sometimes may risk their lives to help those in this community. Eagle Air Med is pleased to associate with the fine men and women of Chinle EMS and we encourage everyone to recognize and appreciate the great service Chinle EMS does."
Other activities held by Chinle EMS for National EMS Week were a Seat Belt Check with the Navajo Police on Wednesday, and a two mile Fun Run/Walk on Thursday.
"We'll end our week with a cookout on Friday," Burbank said. "I am looking forward to that!"