First responders rise to challenge of protecting community health and safety
Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
Day and night, in all seasons and settings, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and volunteers are ready to rise to the challenge of providing lifesaving care.
This EMS Week (May 15-21), the Erie County Department of Health recognizes the crucial work of emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, educators, administrators, pre-hospital nurses, emergency nurses and emergency physicians in Erie County and the region. These dedicated first responders are ready with a calming, caring presence when faced with danger and uncertainty. Each EMS team member engages in thousands of hours of specialized training and study to build and refine their skills.
Within ECDOH, the division of emergency medical services provides training, communications and ambulance dispatch services, along with coordinating the hazardous materials (HazMat) team and SMART volunteers. EMS also manages the county’s public health emergency preparedness activities, which have taken on a prominent role for testing and vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of the public can also play a role in emergency response, and support the work of EMS every day.
Slow Down and Move Over: When you hear sirens or see emergency equipment, slow down your vehicle and move over. The work of first responders is dangerous enough; don’t risk their safety further by speeding past or approaching too closely.
Teach Children When and How to Use 9-1-1: In age-appropriate ways, teach children when and how to call 9-1-1. Explain what types of situations would require a 9-1-1 call. Along with teaching them how to make the call, explain to them what information they might be asked to provide, like a parent or grandparent’s name and address, and how to describe in simple terms what the emergency is. Practice this before you need to!
Practice Safety at Home: Test and maintain your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and change the batteries at least once every six months. Know where your fire extinguishers are kept. Have a plan and the tools to turn off utilities if needed. Create an escape plan in case of a fire, and practice it with everyone in your household, including pets.
Build a Safety Kit: Flashlights, nonperishable food, first aid supplies, extra medications, water and more should be set aside and refreshed regularly. Consider everyone in your household, including pets, when assembling these supplies. Find checklists to prepare your kit at ready.gov/kit.
You Are the Help Until Help Arrives: Take the time to learn first aid, CPR and how to “Stop the Bleed.” Learn when and how to use Narcan, and keep a Narcan kit available.
Stay Informed: Download the Erie County ReadyErie app (www.erie.gov/readyerie) to your smartphone. During an emergency, make sure you have a way to get information from local authorities, such as with a battery-powered radio.