Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service received the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS award at the 25th Annual Congressional Fire and Emergency Services dinner this week. The award is designed to recognize best practices and highlight innovations in the delivery of emergency medical services.
Established in 1989, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute that works with members of Congress in promoting fire and life safety issues. Working with other national fire service organizations, the Institute focuses its attention on issues that benefit all first responders. Members of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the largest caucus in Congress, look to CFSI for guidance and information to enhance their level of understanding about the challenges and needs of the nation’s fire and EMS communities. Each year, CFSI and the MedicAlert Foundation honor and recognize departments that have made outstanding contributions.
Annually, 75 percent of all Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service emergency calls are EMS-related and the demand for emergency medical services can quickly challenge available resources. Since 2009, the department has developed and implemented several critical programs that demonstrate the department’s commitment to saving lives in the community. With strong evidence nationally that pre-hospital care has a profound impact on survival, the department was one of the first in the state to implement and deploy paramedic-staffed engine companies, which facilitates faster access, improved pre-hospital care and enhanced patient care during an emergency.
When every second counts, receiving the right medical care in minutes can mean the difference between life and death. The window of time from when a patient starts experiencing heart attack symptoms to the moment the patient receives treatment is a critically important period. In 2010, the department established the Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) program which allows paramedics to transmit critical data directly and securely from remote locations to area hospitals using sophisticated technology and equipment. The new technology accelerates the diagnosis process while shaving off critical time that ultimately can make a difference in patient outcome and survival.
While hospitals and first responders have many protocols in place to ensure that cardiac patients are diagnosed and treated quickly, providing this early diagnosis “en route” ensures that the hospital team will be mobilized and standing by to intervene with angioplasty, as needed, so that blocked heart vessels can be opened, blood flow to the heart restored and heart muscle (and lives) saved. The time period from diagnosis to the opening of the vessels is known as “door to balloon” or D2B time. According to guidelines by the American Heart Association, optimal D2B time is 90 minutes or less.
“This award reflects our ongoing investment in and dedication to excellence in our Fire and Rescue Service,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “I am very proud of the hard work of each and every member of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service who has placed us in a position to be nationally recognized for this prestigious award.”
“This award is testament to the commitment and dedication of the entire department and also reflects the hard work and collaboration of our hospital partners,” said Fire Chief Steve Lohr. “We strive to stay on the leading edge of the most advanced technology and industry practices available which translates into providing the best possible care - - one patient at a time.”
# # #
With strong evidence that rapid response by fire and EMS personnel, combined with state-of-the- art technology and pre-hospital care, these projects are examples of teamwork and technology saving lives.