INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Countless lives have been saved thanks to emergency medical services. In Marion County, that number has spiked. In 2018, first responders noticed a significant increase in the number of responses.
The main purpose of EMS is to provide immediate medical care to the people who most need it. As the number of calls increase, it changes the way they operate locally. Crews are on scene for every sporting event, overdose, crime and heart attack.
“Our people are really on top of the game,” said District Lieutenant of Indianapolis EMS, Doug Lackey.
Right now, there are around 300 EMTs and paramedics in Marion County. Lackey says this past year has kept them quite busy.
“The busier they are, the more help they can give and better it makes them at their job,” said Lackey.
In 2018, EMS responded to 115,709 calls. That’s an increase of about 3,000 from 2017. Lackey says there are many factors, but two stand out.
“The opioid crisis is well known fact, those are things we respond to on a regular basis,” Lackey said. “As far as crime goes, unfortunately, that’s something we do see is victims of crime.”
The population in Indianapolis is growing, along with the many events that are being brought to the city. Many people forget that EMTs and paramedics are at those events in case of an emergency. That’s where many of these calls are coming from as well.
“Whether it’s 5Ks, mini marathons, half marathons, all of these things and the amount of sporting events, many people don’t even realize the big events at the convention center such as volleyball, cheerleading and those things go on for days at a time where thousands of athletes come through and when you have big sporting events like that, there’s bound for people to get hurt here and there, that happens all the time,” said Lackey.
The high volume of responses, doesn’t impact employment, yet. However, as calls increase training remains a high priority.
“If those folks are having trouble with anything they’ve seen or heard or whatever, we try to get those resources out there so those people know hey, I can pick up the phone, I can send an e-mail and we have people set in place to help them deal with those hard times,” said Lackey.
Lackey expects EMS response calls to continue to increase year after year.
“Absolutely, I don’t think they’re cancelling the Indy 500 anytime soon,” said Lackey.
Although it’s a tough job with high demand, Lackey says it’s the people, who make it all worth it.
“Some of these guys will be busy, run after run after run, and maybe getting a little tired and worn down and a family member or a patient gives you a big thank you, it kind of just makes things worth it and washes away all of the bad stuff.”