Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad ambulances and medic units are dispatched to a variety of types of emergencies. These calls include sick people, injured persons, chest pain, trouble breathing, cardiac arrests and vehicle collisions.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad ambulances respond to hundreds of vehicle collisions every year. Our response area includes many streets, as well as interstate highways. All collisions require the response of at least one ambulance and a fire engine, with many also including one of our heavy rescue squads.
Specific units sent to the call depend on the type of injuries reported. If a person is trapped inside the vehicle, or if it has overturned an advanced life support, or medic unit, is normally dispatched. The same is true in cases where a vehicle strikes a bicyclist or pedestrian. For most collisions, a basic life support ambulance is sent to the scene.
Equipment required on vehicle collisions typically consists of the stretcher, and extrication kit which includes cervical collars and head blocks along with a backboard which are used to immobilize patients who may have spinal injuries as a result of the collision.
The Rescue Squad responds to over a hundred reports of cardiac arrest every year. Cardiac arrests are instances where a person’s heart has stopped and they are no longer breathing. In these instances, a number of units are dispatched to aid the victim. The standard dispatch will bring the closest unit, which may be a fire engine or truck, ambulance, or even rescue squad. In addition, at least two paramedics will also be sent. This may result in multiple fire engines, ambulances, or medic units being sent to the scene. All firefighters and EMT’s in Montgomery County are trained in CPR, and all units also carry AED’s which can be used to restart a person’s heart in certain instances.
Equipment used on a cardiac arrest includes an AED (carried on all rescue squad ambulances and rescue squads), oxygen, and a backboard, as well as a cardiac monitor, cardiac drugs, intubation equipment, IV supplies which are carried on the medic units.
Many patients call complaining of trouble breathing due to a number of causes. Whether it is a result of an asthma attack or an allergic reaction, these calls normally require the dispatch of a medic unit with at least one paramedic. Paramedics can administer oxygen as well as lifesaving drugs to persons having difficulty breathing. Units carry a number of pieces of special equipment that is used to assist persons with trouble breathing including CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) units, oxygen, and nebulizers.
Rescue Squad units also respond to numerous calls for chest pain each year. In most instances, a medic unit will be sent for calls of this type; however ambulances also have equipment to treat patients with chest pain. EMT’s are trained to administer aspirin go patients who may be suffering from a heart attack. Additionally, they can administer oxygen and assist patients with administering some of their prescribed medications.
Paramedics are able to perform EKG’s on patients suffering from chest pain to help them determine if they may be having certain types of heart attacks. Additionally, the cardiac monitors are able to transmit the EKG’s wirelessly to a physician at the hospital emergency room so they can quickly analyze the rhythm and assist with treatment. Paramedics can also start IV’s and give medications to patients suffering from chest pain.
Rescue Squad ambulances respond to over a thousand reports of injured persons every year. Injured person calls range from minor lacerations to broken bones and dislocations. Normally an ambulance is dispatched for an injured person, however if the injuries are more serious a medic unit may be sent.
Ambulances and medic units both carry a number of pieces of equipment to aid injured persons. This includes everything from bandages and ice packs to various types of splints. They also have several ways of moving patients depending on the type of injury which include backboards, Reeves stretchers, scoop stretchers as well as special “stair chairs” which are specially designed to carry patients up and down staircases.
Over two thousand calls were responded to last year for sick individuals with various symptoms of illness. These can encompass a number of complaints including abdominal pain, back pain, and strokes. Calls for sick persons generally only require the dispatch of an ambulance, which is always staffed with at least two EMT’s. Typically they will use the aid bag on these calls which contains oxygen, a pulse-oximeter which analyzes the amount of oxygen a person has in their blood as well as their pulse rate, blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes.
Common Features of EMS Units
- Ferno Ambulance Stretchers which can support up to 700 lbs
- Seating for four belted passengers in the ambulance box, in addition to a patient on the stretcher.
- Two car seats, to allow for transport of pediatric patients or children with their family members
- Onboard oxygen and suction systems
- The "stair chair", a modified wheel chair which allows EMS providers to easily take patients up or down stairs
- The Reeves Stretcher, which allows EMS providers to take patients unable to sit from their home out to the ambulance
- The Scoop Stretcher, which allows us to move patients with possible hip injuries