BY: Barry Johnson, Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad
and Mark E. Brady, Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department
On Monday February 22nd, the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad (LVRS) and the Prince George's Fire and EMS Department (PGFD) placed its first all Volunteer Paramedic Ambulance in service. This Paramedic Ambulance, staffed by a paramedic and specially trained EMT-B, allows for a greater coverage of Advanced Life Support (ALS) service to the citizens of Prince George's County while allowing volunteer paramedics to practice their hard earned ALS skills. LVRS is proud to have been chosen by PGFD to be the first company to bring this valuable life saving service to the citizens of Greater Laurel. The Paramedic Ambulance will be in service as equipment and personnel are available and will be in service more often as more paramedics are moved through the training. We look forward to having more volunteer paramedics work through the internship process so they too can provide this service to other parts of the county.
This new program is the result of many meetings, various strategies and countless hours of working through details. The Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad would like to thank Fire Chief Eugene Jones, Major Dennis Wood, Volunteer ALS Coordinator Jaime Simpson, Volunteer EMS Coordinator Brian Bregman, Past LVRS Chief David Morgan and current LVRS Chief Mark Arsenault for providing the means, time, equipment and commitment that allowed this partnership to provide expanded ALS coverage.
In 2009, the Basic Life Support (BLS) Ambulances from the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad responded on over 3400 calls for service. The Paramedic Unit assigned to the Fire/EMS Station, which provides Advanced Life Support (ALS), handled nearly 2400 responses. Prince George's County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, "The addition of a volunteer staffed Paramedic Ambulance is a step in the right direction as we move forward in the delivery of advanced life support to the citizens and residents of Laurel and surrounding communities. I also look forward to additional volunteer personnel to work their way through the approval process with our Medical Director and begin staffing these life-saving services." He concluded his comments by saying, "I commend those personnel, volunteer and career, that are currently providing the very best in advanced life support, your dedication to service, commitment and compassion to patient care is evident on every call you respond to." The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department responded to about 130,000 calls for service in 2009. Of those calls about 80% were EMS related.