FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 29, 2005
CITY CELEBRATES EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK
MAY 15-21, 2005
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week 2005, “Ready, Responsive and Reliable,” will be celebrated throughout the nation May 15-21. In Honolulu, events scheduled throughout the week will bring city leaders, medical personnel and community members together to promote safe and healthy lifestyles and honor the dedication of emergency medical technicians and paramedics who serve Oahu residents and visitors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“EMS is a vital part of our community,” said Libby Char, M.D., director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. “In 2000, the City and County of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS) responded to more than 44,000 calls and in 2004 we responded to more than 66,000 calls, a 50 percent increase!”
In advance of this celebration, a blessing ceremony will be held at 9:45 a.m. Friday, May 6, for three new emergency preparedness vehicles in front of Honolulu Hale. At 10:30 a.m. Friday, Mayor Mufi Hannemann will sign a proclamation in observance of EMS Week.
On Monday, May 16, a blessing ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. 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.
“Honolulu Emergency Medical Services is regularly acknowledged as one of the best EMS agencies in the country,” said Patricia Dukes, chief of the Emergency Medical Services Division. “The 9-1-1 calls for help continue to increase at a rate of about 6,000 each year. We have just recently added two more paramedic EMS ambulance units to better provide quality emergency medical care for the citizens and visitors of the City and County of Honolulu.”
Dukes head a division that includes 55 emergency medical technicians, 140 paramedics and 15 dispatchers.
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.
During EMS Week, special attention is given to May 18 as the 20th anniversary of the first grants awarded by the federal Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program. EMSC works to ensure that every child receives the highest quality emergency care possible, from primary prevention to acute care and rehabilitation.
Dr. Libby Char, director, Honolulu Emergency Services Department, 831-4350
Patricia Dukes, chief, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Division, 831-7103