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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

EMS: Courage And Compassion In Action

By Shawn Godfrey
08:30AM / Monday, June 25, 2007

Shawn Godfrey is a certified paramedic and the operations manager for the Village Ambulance Service Inc. in Williamstown, Mass..
Any Seat In The House Will Do


If you’ve ever attended a large trade fair, music concert, or professional sporting event, you know that the size of the crowd can sometimes equal the population of a large town or, in some instances, a small city. Just ask the guy (or gal) elbowing you in the gut each time you make your way to the restroom, or the wannabe smooth-operator doing the “I-am-pretending-not-to-see-you” dance in order to cut you in the beer (or soft drink) line. You know who you are!

With a large number of people packed into a relatively small area, it is not uncommon for someone to require immediate medical attention at some juncture in the event, whether it’s a broken limb or indigestion.

For the most part, the problems emergency medical personnel see at these events aren’t much different from those they see in any emergency medical service arena; asthma, chest pain, alcohol-related incidences, or ankle sprains, to name a few.

Peace of Mind

Thankfully, during most large event gatherings in Berkshire County, emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics, emergency physicians, and other health care providers are always on hand to make sure an over-heated venue, a slippery floor, or an errant baseball doesn’t bring you down — literally.

The idea of staffing emergency personnel to treat illnesses and injuries at large public gatherings has garnered so much popularity it has earned its own name: Event Medicine.

Event medicine is valuable for primarily three reasons: First, EMTs, paramedics, and other health care providers can arrive at the scene faster when someone suffers a life-threatening event. Second, event attendees with less acute medical problems can receive the care they need without having to leave the event location. Finally, if an ambulance is physically stationed at the event, response times are dramatically reduced, thus enabling quicker patient transportation to a more advanced medical facility.

A Growing Need

More event planners and medical administrators are recognizing a need for structured, organized medical care at places where large crowds gather. In the last 10 years or so, it seems event medicine has grown increasingly popular. In fact, if the projected number of event attendees meets or exceeds the designated location occupancy limit, many city and town ordinances mandate event sponsors or owners provide on-scene medical coverage.

In Berkshire County, most large-scale events are staffed by EMTs, paramedics, and, in many cases, emergency physicians. Essentially, it is the people who practice this line of work every day.

During an annual Berkshire County music festival, which attracts approximately 3000 spectators, at least 25 emergency workers, most of whom are EMTs, are stationed in or around the venue. Additional medical staff, including emergency physicians, man medical tents or first-aid stations equipped with everything from defibrillators and intravenous fluids to Band-Aids and Benadryl.

A Worthy "Cost

Although most emergency personnel are paid for their time by the event sponsors or owners, it is not uncommon for emergency personnel to volunteer their time in lieu of free admission to an event. In this scenario, the responders are allowed to enjoy the benefits of the event; however, they must carry a two-way radio or pager, remain on the premises, and immediately respond when he or she is summoned.

In most cases, the sponsors or owners of the facility where the gathering takes place incur the cost for medical coverage. Depending on the duration and/or size of the event, those holding the event may end up paying for medical supplies and equipment, which can include anything from gauze pads to gurneys.

Alternatively, some hospitals or ambulance services will donate man-power, and medical supplies and equipment, depending on the nature of the event (i.e. charitable or fund-raising endeavor).

Coordinating medical services at large-scale events takes a lot of help behind the scenes and a lot of time on the part of many people; from basic first aid personnel to physicians.

As my son, Jared, and I prepare to attend an upcoming rock concert, I can rest assured knowing that medical help won’t be far from any seat in the house.
Your Comments
Post Comment
This was a good topic I don't think some people are awear of how safe they are at a large event. Good job have fun at your up coming concert.
from: JLQon: 06-26 00:00:00-2007

It is reassuring to know medical personal are available if you need them. Great article and informative.
from: jodion: 06-26 00:00:00-2007

I saw a runner collapse at the 4th of july parade and EMS was there in a matter of seconds it was pretty impressive. I give thanks to the personnel who volunteer their time for others.
from: bernieon: 06-26 00:00:00-2007

VERY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE INFO.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WRITING SHAWN.
from: N.G.on: 06-26 00:00:00-2007

Shawn this so true. We went to a fair with rides and the youger prople were pushing their way throught to get on the ride. Thank god nobody got hurt. Keep up the good writting.
from: Beakeron: 06-25 00:00:00-2007

I have never needed emergency assistance at an event I have attended, but it is good to know there is always help just in case!! Personally, I prefer to bring my own paramedic with me wherever I go.......!! ;)
from: WAGon: 06-25 00:00:00-2007

Not an exciting topic, but an important one. Thanks, again.
from: Jorgeon: 06-25 00:00:00-2007


 
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