Pro Safety Joins Kern County EMS as First Responders
As the last vestiges of 2020 started coming to an end a few weeks ago, there seemed to have been an unspoken expectation that things would magically return back to normal as the clock rolled over to 12:00:01 on January 1, 2021. That somehow, the cosmic universe understands, and would even base its operations upon, our human concept of time and the cycle of the moon around our pale blue orb. Sadly, this is not the case and, as it turns out, reality is not confined to the hopeful wishes or frustrated timetables of the disillusioned inhabitants of this planet.
2021 has arrived, and we are still in the middle of a medical crisis that is taking its toll on our tired and weary unsung heroes donned in gowns and masks, located in hospitals and clinics across the country. People are continuing to get sick and more and more are needing medical attention. And this is beginning to become an overwhelming need, requiring new systems and new procedures if we are going to be successful in keeping this dilemma abated.
Keeping this in mind, Kern Public Health has launched a new program that expands its ability to maintain proper emergency response for those in need of care. And Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc. is honored to be a partner in this new paradigm of Emergency Medical Services in Kern County.
Facing the Critical Issue at hand
Because of an increase in COVID-19 cases, Kern County currently finds itself in the midst of a surge capacity for medical care. According to Kern Public Health, there are four factors in defining when a surge capacity is determined. These four factors are: volume of 9-1-1 calls, availability of ambulances, patient offload times at hospitals, and percentage of staff impacted by COVID-19. And kern Public Health has stated that the last factor, percentage of staff impacted by COVID-19, is the only factor to have yet been triggered. However, the increased volume of 9-1-1 calls, combined with the longer patient offload times at hospitals due to a reduction of available beds, has caused a shortage of ambulances that are able to respond to emergency medical requests.
Because of this shortage during a time of surge capacity, and without the assistance of any intervening agency, the Kern County Emergency Response System would not be able to respond to low acuity 9-1-1 calls when sufficient resources were not available. And if an ambulance could not be dispatched, the caller would be informed of the situation and provided other options for obtaining care. Because of this potential shortage of care, Kern County EMS determined that there was a need to integrate an additional emergency response agency into the system for lower acuity calls when ambulances are not available. And this is where Pro Safety & Rescue has the ability, and the honor, of stepping in to serve our community in a greater capacity.
EMTs from Pro Safety were already helping to relieve staffing pressures at local hospitals by supplementing additional shifts needed at those facilities. And according to Kern Public Heath Public Relations Officer Michelle Corson, when Kern County EMS decided to take this historical step in integrating an additional emergency response agency into their 9-1-1 system, Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc. was their first call.
A New Paradigm in Emergency Medical Services
“We are excited that we’ve got the opportunity to partner with an agency like [Pro Safety] during these unprecedented times,” said Corson, “and we were just excited for the partnership and were hopeful that it really expands our system and allows us to do the work and to respond the way our community needs us to.”
As of December 31st, 2020, Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc. has been activated as an additional emergency response agency into the Kern County 9-1-1 system for lower acuity calls when ambulances are not available. According to Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc. EMS Program Director Arnold Thomas, the EMTs and EMS vehicles at Pro Safety were already contracted with Kern County EMS as non-transport BLS (Basic Life Support) and could immediately provide additional assistance to our county’s overwhelmed 9-1-1 system as first responders.
When a person calls 9-1-1 during this level of surge capacity, the emergency operator will check the current availability of ambulances. If there are less than two ambulances available in the system, and the patient is determined by the operator to be non-acute, then an EMT strike team from Pro Safety would be dispatched to the location to determine the best course of action for the patient.
“Upon arrival, we do a full assessment, and do whatever we can to help that person with what they need.” Said Arnold Thomas of Pro Safety, “And if we determine that this person is definitely having a critical emergency and they need to go to the hospital and need an ambulance, then we will call an ambulance out.”
So far, according to both Kern Public Health and Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc., most people receiving emergency assistance seem to understand and appreciate this new partnership, knowing that a certified professional medical worker is still available to attend to their emergency need. Without this new partnership, and during this level of surge capacity, the possibility existed that their situation may not merit the dispatch of a medical team. But for now those fears can be alleviated, and our community can rest assured that first responders are on the way.
“The goal here is to make sure that everyone who calls 9-1-1 that’s having a life-saving emergency gets the treatment that they need.” Concluded Thomas, “And for every call that we respond to and determine that there are options available for alternative care, that just keeps more ambulances on the street.”
It is our honor and our privilege at Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc. to accept this historic new partnership with Kern Public Health and Kern County EMS, in keeping our community safe. No change of this kind has ever been made in the emergency response system in our county before. But it is during times of crisis like these, that we all rise up together as a community to meet these challenges head on. This new partnership is an example of how Pro Safety & Rescue, Inc. lives out our passion of serving our customers and our community by providing professional rescue and safety services. We are honored to be entrusted with your emergency medical needs and our first responders promise to provide the care and support you deserve.
Kern Public Health press release concerning new EMS surge plan