Thirty-two emergency medical service (EMS) agencies in nine counties will receive more than $17,000 in grant money from the Memorial Medical Center Foundation to purchase instructional materials required for on-site training and certification.
The grant will allow the agencies to purchase American Heart Association instructional books for Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Pediatric Life Support (PLS) and will allow the groups to train and educate staff and increase the instructor pool at each agency.
“The American Heart Association requirements are a critical component of the Springfield Fire Department EMS training and education program,” said Heather Moore, division chief of Training and Education, Springfield Fire Department. “The updated curriculum and hands-on training gives our department providers the sets and reps needed to build the muscle memory that leads to successful patient outcomes.”
The grant comes at a time in which many EMS groups are struggling to maintain operational budgets that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When new, evidence-based care shows improved outcomes for patients, it’s important that this new or updated information gets to EMS providers in a timely manner,” said Dr. Matthew Johnston, EMS medical director at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. “Training and education is one of the main ways we can assist agencies and ensure they have ongoing and up-to-date guidelines for the care of the patients they treat.”
The EMS agencies that will share the grant are associated with Memorial Health System, which serves as the resource organization for the groups.
“We work with agencies to achieve their Illinois Department of Public Health requirements to keep these vital EMS services available to our communities,” said Sara Brown, manager, Memorial Health System EMS. “Maintaining certification can be an arduous and expensive process, and this grant will help relieve this particular burden on our agencies during the pandemic.”
The $17,821 grant to purchase the necessary training and instruction books comes from the Memorial Medical Center Foundation. The board approved an off-cycle grant due to the urgency of the need to accommodate changes in the American Heart Association curriculum, which is updated every five years.
“Supplying these EMS agencies with updated instructional materials furthers our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve,” said Melissa Hansen Schmadeke, executive director of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation. “We are committed to helping our local EMS agencies continue their lifesaving work within our communities.”
The experts involved agree that when EMS groups receive support for training and continuing education, the ultimate beneficiaries are the community members who rely on local EMS agencies to deliver care when an emergency occurs.
“The coordination of care starts with our dedicated EMS providers,” said Johnston.
EMS agencies who will share in the grant include:
Lifestar Ambulance – Springfield
Logan County Paramedic Association
Sherman Fire Protection District
Springfield Fire Department
America Ambulance Service
Taylorville Fire Department
Lifestar Ambulance – Jacksonville
Beardstown Fire Department
Medics First Ambulance
Jacksonville Fire Department
Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District
New Berlin – Island Grove Fire Department
Rochester Fire Protection District
South Jacksonville Fire Department
Chapin Are Rescue Squad
Waverly Fire Department
Rural Med EMS
Meredosia Volunteer Rescue Squad
Williamsville Fire Protection District
Emden Fire Protection District
New Holland Fire Protection District
Hartsburg Fire Department
Springfield Police Department ERT
Ashland Fire Department
Chandlerville Fire Department
Petersburg Community Fire Department
Murrayville-Woodson Emergency Ambulance Service
Northwestern Area Ambulance and Rescue Service
Alexander Fire Protection District
Arenzville Fire and Rescue