OCEAN CITY — Lights flashing and sirens blaring, you pull your vehicle over and yield to Ocean City fire apparatus or ambulances. As the emergency vehicle passes, you merge back into your travel lane and go about your day.
Have you ever wondered what goes into making certain your firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) providers are top notch? Over the next few weeks, I will highlight the different jobs within the fire department and explain in detail what they are about. I take pride as I write this article knowing that, in Ocean City, we provide you with excellent service every hour of every day. Ocean City Fire Department ambulances respond to emergencies with a minimum of two advanced life support (ALS) providers (paramedics) and one basic life support (BLS) provider (emergency medical technician). This staffing (more than in most other jurisdictions) ensures that all medical emergencies, especially high priority, receive advanced medical care within minutes. All Ocean City Fire Department paramedics are nationally certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). NREMT serves as the National EMS Certification organization providing a valid, uniform process to assess the knowledge and skills required for competent practice by EMS professionals. Providers recertify with NREMT every two years. Re-certification requires attending a minimum of 72 hours of continuing education that meets the national standard for paramedics.
Ocean City Fire Department ambulances are also certified though the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System (MIEMSS). An independent state agency, MIEMSS is governed by an EMS Board appointed by the governor and responsible for overseeing and coordinating all components of the statewide EMS system in accordance with Maryland statute and regulation. All Ocean City ambulances and three fire engines have been inspected by MIEMSS and are certified with their “Seal of Excellence.” This certification addresses the requirements of patient care supplies and medications according to Maryland medical protocols. Should you ever need an Ocean City ambulance, be assured that the men and women providing you care are well qualified, enjoy public service, and take pride in riding on top notch units.
(The writer is the public information officer for the Ocean City Fire Department)