- NOEMS implemented therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest patients and told local hospitals they’d have to continue it to receive them. “That really jump-started the whole region to get policies in place,” says Elder. It’s similarly helped promote rapid assessment and intervention for time-sensitive STEMI and stroke patients.
- In the field, it’s equipped crews with tools like ResQPODs and LUCAS devices, CPAP, tourniquets, hemostatics, video laryngoscopes and IO systems, as well as powered cots and reflective apparel. New disaster resources include trailers, shelters, boats and a mass-casualty bus.
- Through a partnership with LSU, EM residents work in the field alongside medics. “The medical control doctors know who the paramedics are, the paramedics know who the doctors are,” Elder says. “It benefits communications.”
- NOEMS has the city’s primary extrication and rescue responsibilities. “Paramedics understand the science behind what’s going on with the patient and vehicle,” says Flores, “and how manipulating the vehicle might cause further damage.” Personnel train and work closely with firefighters on such scenes.
- A dedicated education/training division now oversees employees’ orientation, training and CE. Training encompasses NIMS/ICS, the range of “alphabet” courses, defensive driving, hazmat, rescue fields and more.
- Under the VIGOR program (Volunteers in Government of Responsibility), more than 100 volunteer EMTs and paramedics join crews to help provide care during peak times and major events.
- NOEMS is a rare system that uses prehospital ultrasound. That’s currently restricted to physicians, but should soon extend to medics.
- Working many unique special events requires expert planning based on historical data and use of a full array of Gators, bikes, sprint cars and extra ambulances.
- A paramedic/RN is devoted to identifying frequent nonemergency 9-1-1 users and connecting them with resources to meet their needs.
- Ambulances have rear-view, driver- and passenger-side cameras, LED lighting and Howler sirens. Around half, including all new vehicles, have DriveCams. Specs also include the Kelderman Air Ride suspension system, which lowers the rear of the ambulance for patient loading.
“The main thing people should know,” Elder says, “is that none of this would have happened if not for our people working the streets every day. We know it gets hard out there, and without them we wouldn’t be anywhere. That’s the key to the success of this whole operation.”
“It’s not a perfect system,” adds Flores. “We wish we had more budgetary support and could have more units out there. But as a group I think we’ve been able, through the dedication of the people running the calls, to achieve a great amount of success. So hats off to them for sure.”