Pickens County EMS celebrates EMS Week

Pickens County EMS officials make appearances at local churches, schools and festivals to try to educate children and make the community a safer place for all.

COUNTY — National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.”

This year’s campaign “EMS: One Mission, One Team” sums up Pickens County EMS with its dedicated, caring, and highly trained staff.

Pickens County EMS is the sole 911 provider in the county. This service responds to all calls within the county, whether it is a 911 call or a request for non-emergent transports. In 2012, Pickens County EMS responded to more than 15,600 calls.

EMS stations are strategically located to provide prompt and professional service to the residents of Pickens County. There are two EMS stations in Easley in addition to the ones in Pickens, Central, Liberty, Six Mile, Holly Springs and Dacusville. Each unit is supplied with advanced life-saving equipment and staffed with at least one paramedic in addition to the EMT. Specially equipped ambulances are also available for bariatric patients, should the need arise.

“EMS has changed and continues to evolve,” Pickens County EMS director Rodney Herd said. “Now if a patient is having chest pains, EMS can respond and perform a 12-lead EKG to determine if you are having a heart attack. If so, they can provide you with life-saving skills and medication, and then with direct contact with the hospital can transport a patient straight to the cardiac cath lab, bypassing the emergency room for immediate life-saving intervention saving valuable time and cardiac tissue death.

“It’s amazing how far the EMS field has evolved.”

For more than 40 years, EMS has been on the front lines of answering 911 calls. That role is — and will continue to be — a critical part of the EMS mission.

However, Pickens County EMS is realizing that EMS has an even larger role to play in the community — one that takes the profession beyond answering crisis calls and instead focuses on preventing life-threatening emergencies and improving overall community health.

This year, Pickens County EMS has focused on several injury prevention campaigns in the community.

One of the biggest campaigns is the EMMA K.A.P.P. project in memory of Emma Boughman, who was struck and killed last year while riding her scooter. According to Pickens County EMS spokesperson Julie Saylors, the EMMA K.A.P.P. project was initially started as a healing process for medics, as well as Emma’s family, friends, and classmates at Chastain Elementary. K.A.P.P. stands for Kids Are Precious People. A specially designed bicycle helmet has Emma’s name on it surrounded by angel wings, and Pickens County EMS will give away 100 free EMMA K.A.P.P.s this year in memory of Emma to Chastain Elementary students. The event may one day save another child’s life, Saylors said.

Pickens County EMS has made more than 50 different appearances on injury prevention at local churches, schools, and festivals. The organization focuses on trying to make the community a safer place for all children and educating children on such topics as pool safety, bicycle safety, seatbelt safety and drug awareness.