EMS wears many hats during summer months

·3 min read

Aug. 4—Buchanan County EMS works to be versatile during the summertime, assisting a variety of agencies in emergency situations.

Recently, EMS assisted law enforcement during a daylong standoff on South 16th Street on July 31. In a different case, they helped residents stay safe at the Red Rally on July 29.

Steve Groshong, director of field operations and paramedic for the Buchanan County EMS, said that during the summer, EMS is called to a variety of situations, many of which are heat-related.

"We run a lot of weather-related, heat-related stuff," Groshong said. "When people are on chronic medications, their medications sometimes impact how the heat affects them. They find out about it when they have a single episode or they pass out."

EMS also receives calls related to dehydration. Groshong said many factors play into dehydration, including drinking fluids other than water.

"A lot of people drink coffee, tea and drink soda," Groshong said. "All those things are good. They're fluids, but sometimes, especially caffeine-containing substances, tend to dehydrate you. So you need to be drinking water. "

Along with heat-related calls, EMS also assists at many vehicle crashes. Their role is to get the patient out and then treat them, as well as assist other first responders however necessary.

Before EMS treats the patient, there are a number of questions that they ask themselves when first analyzing the crash.

"'How fast were they going? How much damage is done?' ... All those things go rolling through your mind before you actually see the patient," Groshong said.

Groshong said looks can be deceiving when it comes to looking at the severity of traffic crashes.

"Sometimes you look at the vehicle and go, 'This is bad' and they're absolutely fine because of the way the vehicles are designed today," Groshong said. "They're designed to crumple and are designed to crash. All those things absorb energies, which save injuries on the patient."

Groshong said EMS and other law enforcement agencies work well together. When working with other agencies, the primary role of EMS is to take care of the patient.

One example of this is providing two forms of service when called to a fire.

"We'll pull an ambulance and send them to the structure fire," Groshong said. "They're there, number one, in case there's somebody injured in the fire. But number two, if a firefighter goes down, then we're already on the scene ready to help."

For residents in the St. Joseph and Buchanan County areas, Groshong said that people need to look out for one another in the heat.

"Watch out for people in this in this weather, extremely hot weather, especially elderly people," Groshong said. "Make sure they're getting enough to drink. Make sure you're getting enough to drink. Check on your animals, make sure they're getting plenty of water, and just look after your neighbor. We're here to help you guys, and don't hesitate to call us."

Residents can reach the Buchanan County EMS by calling 911 in an emergency situation. They can be reached at the nonemergency number at 816-396-9588 or online at https://www.bc-ems.com/.

Riley Funk can be reached at riley.funk@newspressnow.com.