NCET Biz Tips: Saving a life: Who you gonna call?

Bill Leonard

Bill Leonard

For those that remember the Ray Parker, Jr., lyrics from the 1984 movie and theme song from that movie with the same name, “Ghostbusters” is not “who you gonna call.”

Everyone should know that 911 is the universal number to call for emergency help nationwide. It's a proven, life-saving service to the public. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services oversees the National 911 Program. The program envisions providing immediate help in all emergency situations.

The state of emergency care affects every American. Have you ever thought about how Emergency Medical Services is handled in Washoe County and similarly in the rest of the country? Most of us assume when illness or injury strikes, we can count on the system to respond with timely and quality care.

We are fortunate in Washoe County to have an excellent EMS program in place, but it's not as easy to implement as you may have been led to believe.

Emergency Medical Services provided by REMSA Health 24/7 here in Reno and the county is a critical component of our nation's emergency and trauma care system. REMSA Health provides response and medical transport to the sick and injured county residents each year. All of us have seen their ambulance trucks and perhaps even their fixed-wing and rotor-wing air ambulances too. REMSA Health is a crucial link to survival in the chain of care.

The REMSA Health story began in 1981 with Care Flight, their air ambulance critical care transport program. In 1986, a jumble of several ambulance agencies still served the Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County areas. It was recognized then that bringing all the EMS agencies under a single dedicated resource and authority would better serve the community regarding transport cost, clinical excellence, and efficiency.

REMSA Health embraced the public utility model and became the exclusive regional authority governed by a Board of Directors with oversight from the Washoe County District Board of Health. Care Flight was absorbed under the REMSA Health umbrella.

Today, as a healthcare provider in Northern Nevada and across northeastern California, REMSA Health teams respond to calls for emergency medical care and transport. They also work toward implementing innovative solutions for out-of-hospital healthcare options to ensure the sustainability of EMS in our community.

Here are a few REMSA Health highlights from 2022.

Ground Operations emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics responded to 92,622 calls for 911 service, with 57,587 of those patients transported to area hospitals.

The organization's Regional Emergency Communications Center managed 202,290 calls.

Just over a year ago, REMSA Health began emergency fire dispatching (EFD) for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. Dispatchers handled 5,579 fire call responses, 192 structure fire protocols, and 195 brush fire protocols.

Care Flight provided 2,509 critical care transports via their fixed-wing and rotor-wing ambulances and ground ambulance unit.

It's safe to say that REMSA Health is a vast operation with 600-plus employees, a 911 ambulance fleet, an air ambulance division, and logistics and dispatch teams that help save lives every day at an internationally accredited dispatch center. Most don't realize REMSA Health is a private, nonprofit, community-based organization. They do not receive any taxpayer revenue. User fees fund the organization. It's a unique model.

What's cool about REMSA Health? You can think of their ambulances as rolling emergency rooms. You can think of their Care Flight helicopters as flying intensive care unit rooms.

REMSA Health's education center provides training to young people interested in learning how to be caregivers in the community, up to intense training as paramedics. There's even a bike team serving crowded and spread-out special events. An advanced life support equipment bundle is attached to the back of the bike, allowing EMTs to respond quickly. Other special teams are attached to fire crews during wildfire season, search and rescue, and local law enforcement SWAT units when responding to an active scene.

REMSA Health teams have a foundation built on caring, community, urgency, education, competency, innovation, and a burning desire to improve emergency outcomes. This company is an organization that has countless success stories every single day. Many are not even reported because REMSA Health's job is to turn an emergency call into a positive outcome. There is a potential first-response success story with every patient.

EMS companies face several challenges, and REMSA Health is not exempt from those same challenges. Resource allocation, increasing demand, financial constraints, workforce recruitment and retention, and legal and regulatory issues only scratch the surface. Balancing competing priorities while delivering high-quality care under stressful and time-sensitive conditions is a daily challenge.

You may also have seen Riley, the REMSA Health furry, friendly Racoon who debuted late last year. Riley the Racoon is their new safety expert for the young and old. Always at the ready. Riley is another way that REMSA Health shares ways to stay safe on the news, social media, and even in the field.

On a serious note, when you take a moment to look at our healthcare industry and its many components, you realize how complex this system is and how lucky we can rely on one. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that without EMS and, in particular, REMSA Health here in Washoe County, our emergency services response would be in dire straits resulting in more people losing their lives.

If you want to learn more about emergency medical response, your NCET Tech Wednesday opportunity is right around the corner. Sign up early for REMSA Health’s presentation on 3-5 p.m. April 12. A tour will take place at 4 p.m. During your visit, you will:

• Learn about and get hands-on with the equipment providers use in the field
• Practice your CPR skills and tour education field-scenario labs
• Visit the internationally accredited dispatch center
• Explore a ground ambulance unit and a Care Flight helicopter
• Discover how REMSA Health is reimagining the next phase of out-0f-hospital healthcare

So don’t be late. Register now.

Bill Leonard is VP of Communications at NCET and a freelance copywriter of conversion-driven customer case studies, success stories, and white papers. Connect with Bill at Bill Leonard Creative and LinkedInNCET produces education and networking events to help people explore business and technology. 


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