Mid Coast Hospital leaders, local fire, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, and municipal leaders joined together on May 24 in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Mid Coast Hospital’s Paramedic Interceptor Service. The event coincided with national EMS week, celebrating EMS practitioners and the important work they do for the community.

Founded in 1997, the Paramedic Interceptor Service provides additional paramedic support to local EMS crews on an as-needed basis. Working together, the Paramedic Interceptor Service and local EMS speed access to advanced life support measures, helping to improve access to emergency care and the good outcomes for the patient.

In case of life-threatening emergencies, you should call 9-1-1. EMS teams are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury.

Signs of heart attack: Discomfort in the chest or other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Signs of stroke: Face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Loss of responsiveness: Fainting, passing out, or no response to shaking and shouting.

It is important to understand what signs to look for, so that you can make a decision about what is best for you or your loved one. If you have any questions about the severity of an emergency, it is always best to call 9-1-1. EMS and paramedic service teams can save lives in critical situations.

We are fortunate to live in a community with access to high quality emergency care, as well as ongoing partnerships that focus on improving health outcomes and working together to save lives.

David Hudson, EMT-P, is the coordinator and founding member of the Mid Coast Hospital Paramedic Interceptor Service. He is a trained firefighter and paramedic serving the Midcoast community for more than 30 years.