Dougherty County EMS works with Phoebe Health Systems in an ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) program. With approximately 12.6 percent of the Dougherty County population over the age of 59, studies have shown risk of cardiac emergencies increasing dramatically for adults over the age of 50. By acquiring and sending pre-hospital 12 leads to the receiving hospital and drawing blood samples, the program helps to decrease the time a patient arrives at the receiving hospital door to entering the cardiac catheterizing suite. This has a high impact on decreasing the morbidity and mortality rates in our cardiac patients.
Dougherty County EMS has eight (8) ambulances staged in high traffic locations to provide emergency care for the 1,274 competitors, along with all the visitors coming in from all parts of the world for the Snickers® Marathon and Half Marathon races taking place in Albany, Georgia annually. The course time limit for both the half and the full marathon is seven hours. The full marathon track is 26.1 miles and is a USATF-certified Boston Marathon qualifier race. With the large influx of support personnel, family members and spectators from outside Dougherty County, we have all units staged and manned in their territories. This aids in reducing response times due to heavy vehicle and foot traffic on the roads and streets. Off-duty personnel often volunteer to help man the water stations for hydration and medical support areas that are stationed every two miles along the track.
In 2018, Dougherty County EMS helped to train and educate Dougherty County School System on “Stop the Bleed” campaign, placing knowledge gained by first responders and military into the hands of the public to help save lives by stopping uncontrolled bleeding in emergency situations. The Dougherty County School System was awarded 255 “Stop the Bleed” kits, which were divided between 28 schools.
Dougherty County visited Statewide Adult Daycare Center and ARC Adult Daycare Center in Albany, Georgia and presented training in heat-related issues and the importance of administering the right medication in the dosage ordered to the right patient.
Dougherty County EMS teamed up with Dougherty County Department of Family and Children Services and visited the 11 Child Enrichment programs in Dougherty County to provide educational materials on safety and health, as well as answering questions from both staff and children.
Dougherty County EMS personnel attended numerous career days at the local middle and high schools, as well as the technical college, to answer questions and to promote EMS as a professional career.
Dougherty County EMS visited the Boys and Girls Club on three separate days to present instructions on heat and water safety.
A Dougherty County EMS unit was on-site at the first ChalkFest Day in Albany, hosted by the Albany Museum of Art. This event is dedicated to the celebration to end the summer by enjoying live music, vendors, and pavements filled with art. The crews interacted with visitors and promoted EMS and the need to call 911 early.
On October 3, 2018, Dougherty County EMS was on standby at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Albany, as crews set up for the Heart of South Georgia concert and the pre-concert warm-ups prior to the actual concert. The benefit concert featured Luke Bryan, Phillip Phillips, Cole Swindell, The Peach Pickers and DJ Rock. Proceeds were donated to the Heart of South Georgia Fund of the Community Foundation of South Georgia to support ongoing natural disaster relief efforts. Dougherty County had off-duty personnel to come in and provide coverage for four ALS ambulances, eight Ground Teams and EOC, and Administrative Staff.
Other Community Standby Events Dougherty County EMS was a part of included:
On April 17, 2018, Dougherty County EMS spearheaded the Opioid Awareness Campaign and re-enactment at the Albany Civic Center to illustrate the lethal implications when using drugs. The numerous articles and the rise in deaths associated with opioid overdoses gave the community a wakeup call. According to a June 2018 article in JAMA on the Association of Pharmaceutical Industry Marketing of Opioid Products to Physicians with Subsequent Opioid Prescribing, despite the increasing contribution of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl to the opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States, 40 percent of deaths involve prescription opioids. These are commonly the first opioid encountered in a trajectory toward illicit consumption. Although opioid prescribing has declined nationally, rates in 2015 were triple those in 1999 and remain elevated in regions of the country with higher numbers of overdoses. The article also points out the more free meals doctors received from drug companies, the more likely doctors are to prescribe their drugs. Another reason for the high numbers of prescribed opioids was due to the industry’s accreditation agencies scrutinizing of physicians for not being aggressive in their treatment of pain.
Even though the over-prescribing could be traced back to the root of the opioid epidemic, a focus on reaching out to the community and addressing the rising number of teenage deaths associated with opioid usage was needed. As a result, Dougherty County EMS, along with local agency partners with the same concerns, held an Opioid Awareness event to help curtail this epidemic and illustrate the physical and emotional damage to the survivors and family members. Partners for this event included Michael Fowler, Dougherty County Coroner; Phoebe Health Services Network of Trust School Health Program; Morehouse School of Medicine; Local Law Enforcement; Dougherty County School System; Deerfield-Windsor and Sherwood Christian Academy; Phoebe Health Emergency Room; and many other local organizations.
Over 4,000 students from Dougherty County Middle and High Schools viewed a re-enactment of what can go wrong during a celebration, as a group of high schoolers get together and celebrate one of their own’s birthday. Most of the teens did not know drugs were brought on to the scene. EMS was called to the scene and began triaging and treating. The crime scene was marked off and the Coroner was called in due to the death of the party goer handling the rapid absorbing opioid. Jim Wallace with WALB-News 10 narrated the incident as it unfolded to let the audience know what was happening. Dougherty County EMS had involvement with Region 8 EMS Directors Association and the Regional Counsel. The information is presented at an annual EMS Educator’s Conference as an annual training for personnel. In addition, EMS provides in-house training for BLS, ACLS, PHTLS, and PALS, as well as instructor training in BLS, ACLS and PALS. An annual low-speed EVOC training and skill check for all personnel employed by Dougherty County EMS is required annually.