Emergency Medicine -- Help is on the way!
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Gila Regional EMS Paramedics respond to nearly 400 calls per month in city, rural and frontier regions of southwest New Mexico. In Grant County GRMC EMS provides both 911 and non-emergent transport service. In Hidalgo and Catron Counties they provide Paramedic assistance utilizing a unique network of volunteers and professionals to respond promptly to an emergency.
Being a hospital-based service we are also active in insuring the success of the hospital. We assist in the E.R. with patient care at times, as well as in other non-patient care areas.
GRMC EMS runs a fleet of 9 ambulances; 5 ambulances stationed at our main station in Silver City and 3 others in outlying communities of Sapillo, Mimbres, and Cliff/Gila areas. These satellite services are staffed by dedicated (mostly volunteer) personnel.
We utilize an Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipped Chevy Suburban for Paramedic intercepts with outlaying services and for service requests requiring a four-by-four (4x4) vehicle in area not accessible by a standard ambulance.
We have a unit that is equipped for rescue type work stationed in Silver City that is also transport capable. This unit is equipped with Amkus hydraulic extrication tools, as well as an assortment of hand tools, generators, lights, personal protective equipment. Another unit is specially equipped as a bariatric ambulance that will accommodate a patient weighing up to 1,200 pounds.
Gila Regional EMS also responds to swift water rescues, rope rescue and we also have a trailer equipped with showers, and protective equipment specifically designed to respond to hazardous situations that require decontamination.
GRMC EMS maintains crews consisting of, at a minimum, one Paramedic and one EMT-Intermediate. We have four full time two person crews and one person is full time on a day truck that works with part-time staff.
GRMC utilizes a unique network of volunteers and professionals to respond to an emergency promptly. Emergency medical volunteers are often first to arrive at the scene. They provide a trained first response and administer other medical care such as CPR.
Without this network, many people in frontier areas would not have the benefit of rapid emergency medical response at all. "When GRMC took on the role of ambulance service in 1986, our goal was to provide emergency medical services throughout the county," says Don McNutt, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director for GRMC. "The only way to do that was to train volunteers. Today we have more than 100 volunteers throughout the county."
Volunteers receive extensive training. Basic emergency medical technician (EMT) courses are 160 hours and can last up to 16 weeks. If people in the rural and frontier areas of our county had to wait for an ambulance to arrive from Silver City, it might take half an hour or more for help to arrive. With local emergency volunteers on call, critical lifesaving help can be on hand within minutes.
On occasion, more advanced care is urgently needed. In these cases, paramedics from Gila Regional can meet volunteers at the scene or intercept ambulances on the way to the hospital. But for many people who need emergency care, the initial help from an emergency volunteer make the difference between life and death.
"Our volunteers are housewives, miners, firemen, farmers, ranchers, and business owners," says McNutt. "They work for a living, and during off hours they proudly serve their communities by volunteering."
It's a commitment, but a great way to make a difference in your community. "The dedication our volunteers have for their fellow citizens is just overwhelming," says McNutt.
To find out more about volunteer services or learn how you can become emergency medical volunteers, call 575-538-4184.
GRMC EMS is guided by Dr. A.W. Neely MD, our system medical Director.
Mr. Don McNutt,
NREMT-P is our service director and is responsible for daily operations of this department. Mr. McNutt is also very active in local and statewide EMS issues. He is chair of the Chair for the EMS Region II Committee and Statewide EMS Committee. He also serves on the NM Gubernatorial appointed Trauma Advisory Committee.
GRMC-EMS has been recognized by the State EMS Bureau with the "System Excellence" award, as well as, several individuals have received awards for heroism (water rescue)and system improvement (communications system development), to name a few.
We are proud to be a designated American Heart Association Training Center serving southwest New Mexico. Our Training Center promotes the mission of the American Heart Association, fighting heart disease and stroke, by offering quality AHA training courses in basic life support, advanced life support and pediatric advanced life support to the community.
The Training Center also serves to support affiliated instructors who require certification, the latest training information, materials and course completion cards. Our instructors and training sites represent all areas of the southwest New Mexico healthcare industry. In addition to our regularly scheduled classes, all classes can be customized and scheduled at a time and location that meets your specific needs.
For more information contact GRMC Education Department at 575/538-4176.