2013-05-24 / In the Know

In the Know

Take time to celebrate 40th annual EMS Week
By B. Michael Thurlow Special contributor

This week is the 40th annual recognition of Emergency Medical Services week when we take the time to recognize our first responders for their great work throughout the year.

Scarborough is blessed to have a very advanced EMS system that includes a quality dispatch center that starts the process with Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols and pre-arrival instructions. Those instructions include lifesaving actions like talking bystanders through proper CPR techniques while first responders are dispatched and enroute to the call.

In Scarborough we are fortunate that all of our police cruisers and fire apparatus have Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) so the first police or fire unit to arrive on scene has the ability to shock a victim’s heart back into the proper rhythm.

This is a critical second step in the survival chain, as rapid defibrillation is often the key to a positive outcome.

The final step in our integrated EMS system is our two paramedic-level ambulance crews who are able to provide the same advanced medical interventions and drug therapies in the field as those that can be performed at the emergency room.

During national EMS week we pause to thank all of our first responders for their important contributions to our community and the citizens we serve.

Along with helping people during times of emergency while on duty and responding as call members, members of the Scarborough Fire Department assist community members in need while off duty as well. Several of the neighborhood call companies oversee and award scholarships in memory of former members of their companies to Scarborough High School students to assist in their pursuit of a college education.

After the events of 9/11 firefighters stood outside local businesses asking the community to help support the families affected by the tragic events of that day.

For the past two years Scarborough firefighters have worn 70 pounds of turnout gear and equipment while climbing 82 stories of stairs at a timed competition in a hi-rise building in Boston.

This past February that competition raised over $430,000 for the American Lung Association, and the Scarborough firefighter’s team raised over $9,600, making them the top fundraising group for the entire event and beating out teams from all over New England.

On Memorial Day you will see Scarborough firefighters walking along our parade route accepting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) from our community.

Firefighters around the country have been raising money for this worthy cause since 1954. Nationwide firefighters raised over $25 million to aid in the fight against the neuromuscular disease in 2012.

Maine departments contributed over $56,500 to that total. The money goes to help people and families with muscular dystrophy with day-to-day necessities such as medical care, wheelchairs and wheelchair ramps.

It also helps send children affected by muscular dystrophy to camps that are handicap accessible which they otherwise would not be able to attend. Some of the money raised also go toward research in hope that some day we can treat or even find a cure for this terminal and debilitating disease, which has personally affected the Scarborough Fire Department: one of our own paramedics was diagnosed and ultimately met his untimely death at a very young age from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Please keep this great cause in your minds while attending the Scarborough Memorial Day parade May 27. Firefighters will be walking the parade lines looking for your help to “fill the boot” in support of MDA.

No amount is too little to help find a cure for this aggressive disease. If you aren’t able to donate at the parade you can mail your MDA donation to the Scarborough Fire Department, 246 Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074, and it will be added to the boot drive and passed along to the MDA.

Please make a note on your check that the donation is for the MDA.

If you have any questions about this article or any fire department issue you may contact me atmthurl@ ciscarborough.me.us. or 730-4201. B. Michael Thurlow is fire chief for Scarborough.

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