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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       May 6, 2005

Release ESD-3







City officials kicked off their observance of National Emergency Medical Services Week today with a blessing of a new ambulance and two disaster response trailers that were donated to the Honolulu Emergency Services Department by Pearlridge Center.


The blessing was followed by a ceremony at which Mayor Mufi Hannemann proclaimed May 15-21 National Emergency Medical Services Week. The mayor also recognized EMS Chief Patricia J. Dukes as the first female chief of a major metropolitan emergency medical service in the United States. She is also the first woman to be chief of a public safety agency in Hawaii.


Dukes has been with the City since 1984, when she was certified as a mobile intensive care technician (MICT). She is one of a handful of paramedics in Hawaii with more than 20 years of National Registry certification.  She worked her way up through the ranks and is now chief of the EMS Division, which includes 55 emergency medical technicians, 140 paramedics and 15 dispatchers. She is also a certified instructor in a half-dozen emergency medical fields, including emergency medical dispatch, and is on the adjunct faculty of Kapiolani Community College’s EMS training program.


The Honolulu EMS Division responded to more than 66,000 calls for help in 2004. Demand for service is  growing at a rate of roughly 6,000 calls per year.


The ambulance was purchased with funds provided by the state of Hawaii. Fully outfitted, it will cost $170,000. This ambulance will be assigned to the Makiki EMS unit.


The trailers are a gift from Pearlridge Center. The larger one is 42 feet long and can be used in several configurations as a vaccination center, distribution center for medications, incident command center, education center and many more. The smaller trailer, 34 feet long, can be stocked with emergency medical supplies to support City ambulances at a disaster site, allowing ambulances to spend more time transporting patients instead of returning to their base stations to restock their supplies.


Together, the two trailers cost $135,511. It’s the latest gift to the City from Pearlridge Center’s program, “Building a Better Community, Together.” That program was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, because Pearlridge wanted to strengthen Oahu’s homeland security with a partnership of its customers, merchants and owners.

Fare revenues from the center’s Skycab monorail were used to purchase equipment that the City’s public safety agencies requested. Pearlridge Center’s donations to the City under the program now total $350,000 and also include:


·       Portable defibrillators for the Honolulu Police Department

·       Search and rescue equipment for the Honolulu Fire Department

·       Fifteen two-way radios for the Oahu Civil Defense Agency

·       An EMS foam decontamination unit to counteract chemical and biological agents including anthrax.


Pearlridge marketing director Scott Creel said, “We asked the departments what they wanted, and then we got it for them.”


Mayor Hannemann said, “The City is very grateful indeed for these generous civic contributions from Pearlridge Center. The center’s program, ‘Building a Better Community, Together,’

is a shining example of corporate responsibility and good citizenship.”


            For National EMS Week,  a blessing ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, May 16, at the Nana‘ikeola Kaiser Clinic, 87-2116 Farrington Highway,  for the new Nanakuli EMS ambulance unit that now offers emergency medical services to residents on the Leeward Coast. 


From May 16 through Thursday, May 20, EMS will continue the celebration daily with a staffed ambulance parked in front of Honolulu Hale. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians will be available to share information about EMS and its involvement within the community, and the ambulance will be open for exploring.


There are currently 15 full-time (24/7) paramedic ambulance units across Oahu, with three more paramedic ambulance units available 16 hours a day.  EMS also has two paramedic rapid response vehicles to fill some geographic gaps.  The emergency medical dispatchers (EMD) are trained to provide life-saving pre-arrival instructions to 9-1-1 callers, assisting the patient before the first responders can arrive at the scene.




            Dr. Libby Char, director, Honolulu Emergency Services Department, 831-4350

            Patricia Dukes, chief, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Division, 831-7103




Friday, May 06, 2005

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