EMS first responders retrained


by Andy Treinen


Posted on June 14, 2013 at 6:10 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's an all new ballgame for EMS and first responders these days with each and every emergency run that they respond to.

In the last month, 220 Metro Louisville EMS workers have been retrained and in some classes, they learned radically different ways to save lives.

It's a new way of doing business for people who save lives for a living. "We've made a real radical change in our medical protocols," says the CEO and Medical Director of Louisville EMS, Dr. Neal Richmond. Based on recent studies that analyze 50 years of research, Dr. Neal Richmond got new life saving protocols approved by the state of Kentucky.

In CPR, the biggest change is chest compression that start immediately and continue without interruption.

For Jenny Cravens, the cutting edge change was drastic, but clearly works. "Like at three seconds, survival rates are really high, at five they drop a little but by the time you take 15 seconds off the chest, there's no survivability," claims Cravens.

Every job is choreographed with no discussion needed because of training a computer driven smart dummy named Sim-man. "What he allows us to do is to train all of our providers in saving techniques that are very difficult to get in real life, says EMS veteran Chris Lockets.

One of the other big changes comes with a neck collar, it's called a c-collar. You see, for years, it was pretty much standard procedure when you came upon an accident scene to use this neck collar in all situation unless there was a reason not to. Now you have to find a reason to use the collar. “When all of that science, and again 50 or so years of literature has been reviewed there is not really a shred of evidence to show a benefit of doing that,” claims Dr. Richmond.

But there is evidence using the collar can be detrimental in some cases even causing paralysis. “It possibly makes certain injuries worse. You may end up with someone paralyzed or even worse, dead, if it's used in the wrong situations," insists Richmond.

The training and new equipment are all worked into the emergency services budget, and Dr. Richmond says he's already getting feedback from hospitals that it's saving lives. Richmond calls it “cutting edge".

In the next few months first responders at Louisville fire and surrounding suburban fire departments will be trained on the same new protocols.

In all, that will be about 800 people better equipped to save lives.