MCFRS News Release

New Up-County Emergency Center Operational

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Opens a 21-bed facility

The Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service (MCFRS) in conjunction with Adventist Health Care (AHC) and the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) is pleased to announce a unique partnership with the opening of the Germantown Emergency Center (GEC) in Montgomery County.

This “stand-alone” emergency care facility will expand the resources available for patients being transported to a medical facility seeking the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. The new 17,000 square foot center, which is located in the 19700 block of Germantown Road (Route 118), in Germantown, will be staffed with an emergency physician, nurses and support staff 24 hours a day 7 days a week. In addition to full staffing the center offers complete laboratory and radiological services. While the center is equipped to provide care for most emergencies, there will be incidents when patient care requirements may exceed the resources available at the GEC and, as always, the emergency medical units will still be able to transport patients to other county medical facilities.

In order to meet the needs of ill or critical patients a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between AHC and MCFRS has been created to allow inter-facility transfers between the GEC and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Emergency Department (SGAHED), in Rockville. Of course, there may be isolated incidents that dictate that a patient will be transferred to a trauma center or specialty referral center in the Washington/Baltimore region.

Last week the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service placed several additional emergency medical service (EMS) response “flex” units in service. The EMS ’flex units’ will normally be used county-wide and/or in specific areas during peak times from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on most days of the week or during times of anticipated increased call volume – such as the extreme heat emergency last week.

When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. Certain types of injuries, illness and even structure fires seem to occur more often around this time of the year. The summer season and extreme heat can mean busy times for area firefighters and emergency medical first responders.

Injuries are typically those associated with slips, falls or vehicle collisions, more often than not related to changing weather conditions, while the illnesses may be associated to the heat or predisposing medical conditions related to stroke or heart disease. Close to eighty percent (80%) of the calls for help are associated with emergency medical services.

Whatever the need for emergency services, Montgomery County emergency call-takers will ask specific questions in order to send the most appropriate help. In doing so for medical emergencies, dispatchers use a special screening process called Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). The 911 call taker will normally ask a series of questions to come up with an appropriate level of response based on the information provided by the caller.

Of course, the first and most important bits of information required are the address and phone number, in case there is a disconnect or other issue during the 911 call process. In order to determine the most efficient response during a fire, call takers may ask - What is on fire? Is everyone safe and out of the building? Is anyone injured? And, of course they will ask - Where is the incident located?

The Montgomery County Public Safety Communications Center (PSCC), Fire and Rescue Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is staffed entirely by firefighters all of whom are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), including some specially trained as Paramedics, critical incident stress management, search and rescue, hazardous materials, foreign languages and other special skills. All fire and rescue communication personnel are nationally certified as Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) personnel. Fire and Rescue communication personnel dispatch an average of nearly 375 emergency calls a day or over 100,000 emergency incidents per year.