Letter to the Editor

EMS Strong Always in Service

Friday, May 26, 2017

You may never give it a second thought but we're here for you. When the unthinkable happens Emergency Medical Professionals are standing ready to swoop in and help you and your loved ones. Whether it's a serious medical condition or accident, EMTs and Paramedics are quietly and heroically performing lifesaving tasks in our communities every day.

EMS Week 2017 will be celebrated this year from May 21 27. It is a national awareness week highlighting the vital services provided every day by the Emergency Medical Services professionals throughout every community in the United States. Here in McCook and Southwest Nebraska we are lucky to be served by dedicated EMTs and Paramedics who give themselves in many capacities to ensure that our lives are protected.

The City of McCook Fire Department is the 911 provider for the City of McCook and the surrounding area, which includes approximately 320 square miles of southwest Nebraska. In addition, we provide ambulance standby services and Community Paramedic services for patients throughout the area. We also provide Advanced Life Support Intercept services to all other dedicated ambulance services in southwest Nebraska who request our assistance. We would like to thank the citizens in our service area for all of the support that they have given us in the past and would like to take this opportunity to express our continued passion for health in our community. We pledge to continue providing the highest quality Emergency Medical Services and to continuously find new and innovative ways to improve our quality and service to you.

In order to do this, we are calling on our citizens to support us by taking a few steps of their own. First, everyone should learn CPR. It is a simple and easy way to make a big impact in the lives of your neighbors and loved ones. With the odds of surviving sudden cardiac arrest decreasing roughly 10 percent per minute without adequate CPR and defibrillation, good early CPR saves lives. If everyone knew this lifesaving skill just think of what we could do and who we could save. Second, everyone should learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that 60 percent of people call a friend or family member when they realize that they may be having a serious medical problem. You should know that approximately 1 percent of cardiac tissue dies per minute in an untreated heart attack. Paramedic ambulances provide lifesaving medications that can stop or slow down this damage and we can be at your side within minutes of a call to 911. This treatment is followed by a transport to the local hospital where a professional team of very dedicated doctors, nurses and support staff will carry on the treatment to further limit the damage from a heart attack.

This year more than half a million Americans will suffer a stroke. Failure to recognize the warning signs of a stroke in one of the largest barriers to effective treatment. Knowledge that a stroke is occurring or has occurred is critical because medication must be administered within three hours of the stroke's onset.

Because an individual who is having a stroke may be incapacitated or unaware that a stroke is occurring, assistance from a loved one or bystander may have lifesaving value.

A stroke generally strikes suddenly. It occurs when (1) a blood clot suddenly cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain; or (2) a blood vessel in the brain suddenly ruptures. More than half a million Americans suffer a stroke each year, and stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. To simplify recognition of a stroke's symptoms, the Stroke Team developed the mnemonic FAST: F: Facial numbness or weakness, especially on one side A: Arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side S: Slurred speech or difficulty speaking T: Time to call 911

Symptoms of stroke also may include a severe headache, dizziness, loss of balance, loss of vision or double vision. Surprisingly, pain is not a frequent symptom of stroke.

The most common kind of stroke, which occurs when a clot interrupts blood flow to the brain, does not hurt according to stroke experts.

Signs, symptoms, and treatment of stroke, heart attack, and cardiac arrest are all covered in a basic CPR Course.

If you have any further questions about CPR, stroke or heart attack care, feel free to contact the fire department at 308-345-5710 or visit our Facebook page under McCook Fire Department.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: