In life-threatening emergencies like chest pain, difficulty breathing and trauma, seconds count.
HEALTH STARTS HERE For many Island residents and visitors, our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team is their first contact with the WhidbeyHealth system. Our collaborative partnership with Island county dispatchers, local fire, police, and first responders makes it possible for the delivery of exceptional care – when and where you need it.
WHEN MINUTES COUNT the WhidbeyHealth EMS Teams brings state-of-the-art equipment, skills, and resources to you. They quickly assess each situation, capture background info, vital signs, EKGs, and begin treatment as needed to stabilize each patient. They’ll determine the best way to move and transport patients to the emergency room for additional, higher-level care.
In critical situations such as major trauma or severe cardiac events, they stabilize patients at WhidbeyHealth ED, then transfer them by ambulance or Life Flight teams to local and regional hospitals or specialized care facilities to ensure the best possible care and outcomes.
HIGHLY SKILLED Our EMS teams responded to over 9,200 calls this year alone, providing Basic and Advanced Life support from 5 locations across Whidbey Island.
Our more than 55 highly trained team members, including certified EMTs, Paramedics and support staff, operate under the direction of our Medical Program Director Dr. Garth Miller.
All Basic and Advance Life support personnel receive one to four years of initial training, are certified by Washington State and National Registry, and maintain their skills through a minimum of 20 to 50 hours of continuing education each year. They have diverse backgrounds with experience and expertise in fire, rescue, law enforcement, military, construction, commercial fishing, athletics, nursing, flight medic, entrepreneurial, and clerical.
THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID
The ongoing battle with COVID has reinforced the importance of local access to high-quality healthcare.
For our EMS teams, responding to COVID required new protocols and procedures to ensure maximum safety to both patients and our crews; and we responded,
All EMS providers will have a minimum of gloves, N95 respirator, and eye protection on, but if COVID-19 exposure is suspected they will all also don gowns and possibly PAPR’s.
Between each call EMS crew will don clean PPE to begin sanitizing all of the equipment, gurney, and complete interior of the ambulance. We utilize a Halo Fogger machine that emits a hydrogen peroxide dry fog that covers and disinfects the entire rig.
This process will take 30 to 60 minutes and includes new PPE and sanitizing the EMS provider’s boots. If the patient transported was COVID-19 positive or suspected, then both EMS providers will shower at the hospital and put on a clean uniform before returning to service.
As we face the challenges ahead, our process and procedures will continue evolving to meet the needs of the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Together we’re working to keep Whidbey safe and healthy.
For more information about the comprehensive EMS services and to learn more about what you can do when an emergency happens, visit: https://whidbeyhealth.org/emergency-services/ems/medical-services