Allentown EMS recognized 26 city paramedics, policemen, firemen and communications center staff members at a ceremony in City Council Chambers this morning marking National EMS Week.
National EMS Week brings together local communities, hospitals and medical personnel to publicize EMS and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services on medicine's "front line.” The national theme of the May 19 through May 25 celebration is “Beyond the Call.”
The 26 individuals were recognized for their response to seven specific incidents, including the September 2018 deadly bomb explosion on Turner Street and the October 18 warehouse fire on N. Franklin Street. HIPAA Privacy Rules prevent the city from disclosing specifics about particular incidents, but some involve emergency treatment and transport of heart attack patients, burn victims and patients with breathing difficulties.
Allentown EMS Shift Supervisor Matthew Brett received three honors and Shift Supervisor Philip Banks earned two recognitions. Shift Supervisor Keith Davis was also honored.
Allentown EMS Paramedic Michael Reitnour was recognized for his participation in five of the incidents. Paramedics Tyler Bard, Brett DeReamus, Ronald Gunns, Andre Harris, Jeffery Hoch and Stacy Vibbert were honored twice. Honors were also bestowed on paramedics William Carver, David Ober, Vicki Sames, Patrick Stankovic, Greg Solensky, Andrew Stevens and Travis Tripp.
Allentown Communications Center dispatcher Megan Saltsman was honored along with Allentown Police Sergeant Christopher Hendricks and officer Jacoby Glenn.
Allentown Fire Department lieutenants Jack Bryant and Christopher Groller and firefighters Ronald Conway Jr., Randy Krause, Michael Matchette and Anthony Rosanio were also feted.
Paramedic Scott Brokaw was recognized for 15 years of service. Paramedic Jason Knight was recognized for 10 years of service and paramedics Stankovic and Adam Wilson were each recognized for five years of service.
Lehigh Valley Heart Institute gave special recognition to Allentown EMS paramedics Brokaw and Stephanie Burke and Allentown Fire Department Lieutenant Vincent Kidd and firefighters Adam Banotai and Jason Tatum.
Allentown EMS also recognized mutual aid partners Cetronia EMS, Emmaus EMS, Macungie EMS, Northampton Regional EMS and St. Luke’s EMS.
Allentown EMS Chief of Operations Eric Gratz said, “While National Emergency Medical Services Week is a time to recognize the tremendous work our paramedics perform, it also affords us a platform to educate the community on the various facets of modern EMS and our role in healthcare and public safety.”
President Gerald Ford authorized the first EMS Week in 1974 to celebrate EMS workers and volunteers and the important jobs they perform throughout the nation.
Following the ceremony, Allentown EMS displayed its new 2018 Ford E450 Horton Ambulance with increased safety and security. It features airbags and the updated HOPS restraint system in the patient compartment to increase paramedic and patient safety. It also features a 360-degree camera to eliminate blind spots around the vehicle. Security was increased through the use of a digital keypad locking system and electronic privacy windows.
Crews demonstrated newly upgraded Styker PowerPro ambulance cots and the PowerLoad loading system, as well as the Evacuation EMS HoverJack bariatric movement device. These upgrades increase patient safety and comfort while decreasing injury risks to first responders.
An all paramedic advanced life support service, Allentown EMS responded to nearly 16,000 calls for service in 2018.
EMS may provide both basic and advanced medical care at emergency scenes and while en route to a hospital. More than just a mobile intensive care ambulance service, Allentown's paramedics are involved in numerous public service specialty teams such as HAZMAT, police ERT, Technical and Urban Search and Rescue, water rescue, and our dive and bike teams.
The Allentown EMS fleet includes eight ALS equipped ambulances with two advanced life support ambulances that are staffed around the clock with two additional ALS ambulances operating during peak call-volume times. The shift supervisor responds to calls 24 hours a day in an ALS quick response vehicle.
National EMS Week also illuminates the thousands of first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses and physicians who make-up a complete system designed to save lives.
For more information visit the Allentown EMS webpage at www.allentownpa.gov
or call 610-437-7531.