Created in 1971 by a group of neighborhood firefighters who wanted to extend the premise of emergency services beyond their day jobs of fighting fires and responding to emergencies, the Bellmore-Merrick Emergency Medical Service ambulance and rescue company has blossomed over 44 years into an emergency ambulance service with close to 50 volunteers who serve 23,000 households in the communities of Bellmore, Merrick, North Bellmore and North Merrick for the sole purpose to provide critical emergency medical service to those who need it.
Its volunteers range in rank from the Junior Squad, comprising those as young as 15 years old who are trained to render basic emergency medical services; to “critical care” (CC) emergency medical technicians 18 years and older who render advanced critical care to patients; to paramedics, who render advanced critical care as well as make medical calls to emergency doctors on how to proceed with treatments while in transit to a hospital.
Meanwhile, The B-M EMS is in the final days of a raffle fundraiser, in which winners will be drawn at the Bellmore Memorial Day Parade, May 25. The First-Place prize is four weeks of summer camp at South Shore Country Day Camp, from June 29 through July 24, with an estimated value of $3099. The second prize is a birthday bash as The Little Gym in Merrick; the Third-Place prize is dinner for two at Rattlesnake Jones in Merrick; the Fourth Place Prize ins a $100 gift card from Piccolo Ristorante in Bellmore; and the Fifth=Place Prize is a $40 gift card from The Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails in Merrick.
If you haven’t already received information in the mail, visit www.facebook.com/BellmoreMerrickEMS or www.raffleriver.com/app/raffle/2525-Bellmore-Merrick-Ems-Summer-Camp-Raffle/to get in on the raffle and a chance at some big prizes. Or call the business number at 785-7700.
Having brought in 12 new volunteers in just the first five months of 2015, Michael Verbsky, chairperson of the B-M EMS membership and a CC emergency medical technician, told Your NewsMag that new volunteers do not need any formal training to become EMTs. “We will teach you how to do CPR (cardiac pulmonary resuscitation), which can help make you a junior.”
Differentiating itself from the recent phenomenon of urgent care facilities emerging along Merrick Road and elsewhere, Verbsky remarked that, while urgent care facilities are a good thing for residents to get treatment for minor emergencies when their primary care physicians are not available, “urgent care facilities will call us when a patient needs transport to a hospital for further treatment.”
Advanced Life Support System
The Bellmore-Merrick EMS presently features three fully-equipped ambulances, which Verbsky calls “advanced life-support systems.” Considering the scope of the emergencies an ambulance may be called upon to respond to and resolve – anything from knee and limb injuries to cardiac arrests to strokes to drug overdoses, they come sourced with a panoply of life-saving devices in which critical minutes to the hospital could mean the difference between life and death once arriving at the hospital.
Advanced life support systems require operating expenses, and a yearly raffle helps defray those costs.
For example, the ambulances feature defibrillators to bring a patient out of cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillations (sudden death); IV hookups to administer critical fluids to stabilize patients; and epinephrine to bring people out of anaphylactic seizures or stopped hearts. “We also have separate boxes when responding to fires,” Verbsky continued.
Fire boxes would include emergency tools such as additional saline solutions, space blankets to cover persons who have been burned from going into shock, and burn gels and burn pads to help stabilize those who have been burned.
Depending upon the severity of the injury, or what it is, EMS ambulances will take a patient to the closest hospital that may have units related specifically to the injury that has been sustained, said Verbsky. “One hospital has a cardiac care unit, another has a burn unit,” he said.
He said that with paramedics normally in contact with a medical control center at the Nassau University Medical Center once the ambulance has picked up a patient for transport to a hospital, “paramedics will also ask doctors where the best hospitals are to go to with a particular injury, “Verbsky continued.
Your NewsMag asked Verbsky about a worst- case scenario situation, in which a patient is unconscious at the time of EMS arrival. He said there are several reasons a patient may become unconscious: from trauma, from a stroke, from a heart attack, from an assault or from internal bleeding.
“The person with the patient at the time they became unresponsive is critical in helping us begin the right treatment,” he suggested. If EMS personnel learn, for example, that the person had become unconscious from a drug overdose, critical care technicians can administer the drug Narcan, which will bring the patient quickly back to consciousness. If the person has diabetes, being rendered unconscious, they can be revived quickly with insulin or sugar under the tongue.