Princeton Rescue Squad sets record with ’83 calls

Princeton Packet

7 February, 1984

Princeton Rescue Squad sets record with ’83 calls

Captain Ed Obert of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad reported that the squad answered 116 calls in December bringing the total for 1983 to 1,380 calls. These are all-time records both for the month and for the year.

Capt. Obert stated that the previous record for a year was set in 1968 when the squad provided primary ambulance coverage to moat of the area surrounding Princeton. In that year the squad handled 1,328 calls.

The call total for 1983 includes 1,244 emergency dispatches, 86 routine transportation calls, and 50 “others” which include mostly standbys at various local events.

Of the calls, 363 were handled as mobile intensive care unit (MICU) calls and telemetry contact was established with the hospital and advanced treatment started in the field. A total of 57 of these calls were for patients who were in respiratory or cardiac arrest. Nineteen of these patients (33 percent) were successfully resuscitated.

An additional 120 of the MICU patients showed marked improvement or had potentially life-threatening heart rhythm irregularities suppressed prior to arrival at the hospital. In 1983, Princeton’s MICU handled more calls than any other Mercer County unit except the Trenton Lifemobile, Capt. Obert reported.

THE SQUAD’S 40 members spent a total of 5,400 hours actually on calls. The paid day crew handled 526 calls, about 41 percent of the emergency calls. The squad’s vehicles were driven a total of 12,500 miles, according to Capt. Obert’s report.

Among other accomplishments for the year were the acquisition of several new portable radios, the addition of a new paramedic (bringing the total to five), the certification of all of the paramedics in advanced cardiac life support, the training of nine members in advanced motor vehicle extrication, the addition of several new pieces of heavy extrication equipment, and the replacement of the squad’s older ambulance with a new one to arrive this spring, the report stated.

The MICU Program of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad handled its first call in November of 1977. Since then the MICU has handled a total of 968 advanced life support calls. The paramedics, along with the basic life support crews, have successfully resuscitated a total of at least 49 patients, a number of whom (including the first “save” in January of 1977) are fully recovered.

Less obvious impact is evident in the 181 patients markedly improved through prompt intervention and the administration of intravenous fluids or medications to treat conditions such as heart failure and pulmonary edema, in which the lungs have filled with fluid, or acute allergic reactions in which the patient has no discernable blood pressure, or severe trauma in which there is major blood loss due to internal injuries. Many of these patients, while not “saves” in the strict sense, might well have succumbed if aggressive treatment had not been instituted before arrival at the emergency room, Capt. Obert said.

An additional 67 patients were treated with antiarrhythmic medications to treat or prevent serious cardiac rhythm irregularities, some of which might have been fatal.

Capt. Obert added that, while many of the squad’s calls are for illnesses or injuries not life-threatening, it is certainly important to the person who has fallen and suffered a fracture or other injury, that the squad’s personnel provide prompt and skillful splinting, bandaging, and transportation.

In 1983 the number of mutual aid calls has risen as more neighboring municipalities have called for the help of the Princeton MICU or the heavy rescue truck to help with their more critical cases. Four hundred and seventy-four of the calls were in Princeton Borough. 547 were in Princeton Township, and 359 were mutual aid calls.

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