ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood EMS was recognized at the Kansas EMS Association’s state conference, Aug. 11 at Mulvane, as the Volunteer Service of the Year.
This is the third time we’ve received this award, making us the only volunteer service to be recognized three separate times, said Brittney Bailey, Ellinwood EMS director. The award was presented previously in 2000 and 2005, she said.
“2018 was a big year for us,” she said. “We recorded four “code saves,” something huge for any EMS service, Bailey said, referring to bringing a patient back from sudden cardiac arrest. Early intervention is key.
This is the result of the service’s focus on community education. The Ellinwood EMS has laid the groundwork to help more people in the community learn how to save a life through CPR and Stop the Bleed classes. According to the American Heart Association, just over 10 percent of people experiencing SCA will survive to hospital discharge. Those that receive early intervention by someone trained in CPR including use of an AED have a much higher survival rate, however.
According to the Ellinwood EMS webpage, the service is a strong supporter of public access defibrillation and spearheaded a drive to place Automated External Defibrillators throughout the community. Currently there are AEDs in the following locations: Ellinwood High School, Ellinwood Grade School, football field/track, St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Joseph’s School, church and parish center, Ellinwood District Hospital and the Ellinwood Fire Department command vehicle. Volunteers have trained staff and law enforcement to recognize the signs of cardiac arrest and how to begin life saving measures using the AED.
Ellinwood EMS also received a Kansas Revolving and Assistance Fund (KRAF) grant from the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services to purchase a new X-series defibrillator. In addition to the basic defibrillator functions provided by the AED, the X-series allows trained medical personnel to detect and treat different heart problems.
Because Ellinwood EMS staff members are qualified instructors, they can provide continuing education to the group, enabling the service to provide more hours of advanced life saving (ALS) care. This has resulted in more calls from county hospitals to provide transport to the hospital. It also means a patient’s chance of surviving an emergency trip to the hospital is better.
A dedicated and diverse staff of 18 volunteers includes six paramedics, eight advanced EMT’s and one nurse.
“We have a very dedicated group who want to provide service in Ellinwood, and they strive to provide excellent 24-hour care,” Bailey said.
Their length of service ranges from two to 42 years. Training is provided by staff instructors once a month for three hours. Last year, five new EMT’s volunteered, and classes helped them bridge upwards in their skill level, Bailey said.
Winning the 2019 Volunteer Service of the Year award makes Ellinwood eligible for the 2020 National Volunteer Service of the Year, Bailey said. The last time they were selected for that award was in 2006.