Behind the Badge: A shift with Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN--Before the sun even comes up, first responders like Kelly Elder and Alex Wilson have already begun their day. Elder, a paramedic, and Wilson, and EMT, are assigned to IEMS Medic 10, one of the busiest medical transports in the city.

“Normal days we can do anywhere from 4 runs to 12 or 13,” Elder said.

Each shift for an IEMS medical professional lasts 12 hours, however in that time frame a lot can, and often does happen.  The life of an emergency medical professional is one of unpredictability. Each time they receive a call for help, they are racing against the clock

 “You never know what you’re going to get when you roll up. You can be solving something simple as i need a ride home, or he’s dead, do CPR and resuscitate somebody, Elder said.

During the shift our cameras followed Elder and Wilson, encountered several different types of emergencies, including an overdose, the result of the opioid crisis which has plagued Indiana and the entire country.

 “We see them at the hotels, we see them at home, we see them at garages, we see them on the street. It just kind of depends on whose area we’re in,” Elder said.

For Elder and Wilson, life with IEMS is not a job, but a calling. By the end of their shifts they’re often mentally and physically exhausted, but according to them, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“ I can’t think of anything I’d rather do, I just don’t have the personality for anything else,” elder said.


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