SIDNEY — In honor of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger is reflecting on the Department of Fire and Emergency Service’s past and present, and looking toward its future.
Since 1992, EMS Week is celebrated annually during the third week of May to recognize the front line workers who provide pre-hospital medical care to their communities. EMS Week was first celebrated the week of Nov. 3 to 10, 1974 under the declaration of President Gerald Ford. In 1992, EMS Week was moved to May to separate this program from Fire Prevention Week, held in October, to allow both programs to be more effective.
According to Hollinger, the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Service began providing “Emergency Victim Care” (EMS) in November 1962.
“Prior to this time, local funeral directors cared for this service. In 1963, the department responded to 98 calls for this service with the majority of the calls being heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents, breathing problems, lifting assistance and alcohol related incidents,” Hollinger said.
Advanced life support (ALS) care was provided beginning in 1980 once the department had nine members trained as paramedics.
Today, the department is comprised of 32 paramedics and responded to 2,936 EMS incidents in 2021, or 73% out of 4,039 total for the year. The most prevalent EMS call types for 2021 were:
• Generalized weakness with 257 calls;
• Chest pain/discomfort with 170 calls;
• Shortness of breath with 140 calls;
• Altered mental status with 107 calls;
• Injury with 97 calls; and
• Abdominal pain with 89 calls.
Seizures with 85 calls, Anxiety reaction/emotional upset with 77 calls, acute respiratory distress with 75calls , and malaise, or general illness/discomfort with 71 calls complete the top 10 call types.
The Sidney department operates a fleet of four ambulances with three fully equipped as ALS units and one equipped (currently) as a BLS unit. The department has purchased a Life-Pak 15 Cardiac Monitor/Defibrillator and a LUCAS automatic-compressor device to upgrade the one BLS unit to an ALS unit.
“Currently, one member of the department is in the final stages of completing their paramedic certification and one member is approximately one-third of the way completed with their paramedic training. Once these two individuals complete their certifications, the department will have 34 paramedics on the roster,” Hollinger said.
To date, the department has responded to 996 EMS incidents out of 1365 total incidents in 2022. All operational members of the department complete training every year on EMS protocols. The department is a member of the Greater Miami Valley EMS Council (GMVEMSC), which oversees the administration of local EMS protocol.
The GMVEMSC is celebrating its 50th year of supporting the region with the administration of protocol, training, and leadership in the provision of EMS.
On May 17 at 10 a.m., Mayor Mardie Milligan will present a proclamation at Station 1, 222 W. Poplar St., celebrating EMS Week and recognizing the 50 years of service by the GMVEMSC to the region. Members of the public are welcome to join department members at this time to celebrate EMS Week in front of Station 1.
If you have the opportunity, thank an EMS provider for their willingness to ‘Rise to the Challenge’ as they serve our community with the high caliber of EMS we enjoy,” Hollinger said.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.