MCFRS News Release

Your Life is Our Mission

National EMS Week – May 18-24, 2008

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week will be celebrated throughout the nation May 18-24, 2008.  Montgomery County, Maryland fire fighters, paramedics and emergency medical first responders are called to assist on over 100,000 incidents each year.  About one million fire and rescue personnel responded on emergency apparatus about 300,000 times during the past year.  Almost 80 percent of all responses are medical emergencies or other rescue type incidents. 

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is a full spectrum life safety agency protecting nearly 1 million people who live and work in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction.  The MCFRS is a combination system (career/volunteer), operating with an annual budget of about $190 million and is comprised of over 1200 career uniformed personnel and professional civilian staff and an equal number of volunteers, nearly half of whom actively participate in emergency response.

The theme for the 2008 National EMS Week is, “Your Life is Our Mission,” which underscores the commitment and dedication of the nation’s 750,000 emergency medical service (EMS) providers who serve their communities all across the United States, including about 2,500 paramedics and emergency medical technicians who live and work in Montgomery County. 

"The dedicated men and women who serve as EMS providers in Montgomery County are often first on the scene of local medical emergencies, motor vehicle crashes,  disasters of all shapes and sizes or other event that may place them in a hazardous environment, “ said Chief Tom Carr, Montgomery, Fire Chief, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

 “As this year’s theme implies, it is the mission of our emergency first responders who are the very essence for the beginning of emergency health care in our communities while performing an extraordinary service”.   Chief Carr adds, "It’s important that we take the time to recognize these front line emergency medical responders who on a daily basis go above and beyond the call of duty to save lives, often while putting themselves in harm’s way."

Montgomery County was a recent recipient of the national Heart Safe Community Award. The Heart Safe Community Award reflects the American Heart Association Guidelines for the ‘Chain of Survival’ and among other things the award historically considers public access programs established by fire and EMS agencies in their communities.  Currently there are nearly 1,000 public automatic external defibrillators (AED) registered within Montgomery County – the most of any jurisdiction in the region and State of Maryland.

Montgomery County has demonstrated an improved quality of out-of-hospital resuscitation through bystander CPR, AED deployment via public access, pre-arrival advanced care and other continuous quality resuscitation improvements.

During EMS Week, Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr wants to especially acknowledge all the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, bystanders and medical professionals who have been involved in several Public Access Defibrillation saves since a law was enacted in Montgomery County, Maryland on July 1, 2005, requiring automatic external defibrillators (AED) in all health clubs. 

any of these individuals have been involved in activating what the American Heart Association calls the “Chain of Survival” for Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  The “Chain of Survival” involves a bystander (initial recognition of a cardiac arrest), someone who summons help (calls 911), a Emergency Medical Dispatcher (sends fire and rescue medical assistance quickly), persons who perform CPR and utilize an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), the fire and EMS crews who arrive and continue the care, paramedics who initiate Advanced Life Support procedures, and those who transport the patients to the hospital.  This is a “Chain of Survival”.