First responders deserve recognition

Published 7:47 pm Friday, March 11, 2016

Beaufort County EMS services and first responders have been popular topics as of late.

Paramedic-level services have spread throughout the county; telecommunicators underwent training as part of the Emergency Medical Dispatch program, giving them the ability to walk through basic medical procedures with 911 callers; and public safety workers, volunteer and full-time alike, are spending hours training to become first responders.

These are just a few of the improvements happening in Beaufort County, and it’s changing the face of emergency services.

Unfortunately, contentious issues have arisen and overshadowed these strides, such as which districts pay what for services and whether these changes are really the way to go.

While there are valid questions being asked, as well as a strong effort to educate the public, the issues can detract from the true talent of these first responders.

The model of emergency services is changing rapidly. Now more than ever, on-site care is pushed as the way to go. Instead of immediately loading up a patient and rushing to the hospital, responders are now capable of stabilizing a patient at the scene of the emergency.

Take a step back, and one quickly realizes how incredible this is — especially in a rural, spread-out county like Beaufort.

First responders are not average Joes just trying to make a buck. They are talented, having undergone hours of training, and they have the ability to save lives. Telecommunicators can walk a 911 caller through procedures such as CPR, if needed, and this means the difference between life and death. The rate of survival for cardiac arrest emergencies has risen from around 1 percent to more than 10 percent. This may not seem like a promising statistic, but it signals a step in the right direction, and more importantly, people within those percentage points are living today.

It’s all thanks to Beaufort County’s team of first responders — firefighters, EMTs or law enforcement. So to them, thank you.


Editor’s note: A previous version of this editorial stated, “First responders are no longer average Joes just trying to make a buck.” It was meant to say, “First responders are not average Joes just trying to make a buck.” We are happy to set the record straight.