EMS Week

EMS Week Observed at Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital 

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week is being celebrated this week, May 16-22, across the nation. Locally, Sevier Valley Hospital is recognizing EMTs and other emergency medical personnel for their role in helping people live the healthiest lives possible. The hospital is sharing their gratitude with EMS staff through treats, gifts, and thank you notes from community members. 

EMS plays a huge role in the community. According to the county, Emergency Medical Services provides prehospital emergency care for county residents and anyone passing through. Sevier County EMS is made up of six full-time employees and 85 paid volunteer responders, with nine ambulances and four stations (Richfield, Monroe, Salina, and Koosharem). The department responds to more than 1,500 calls per year on average.  

Sevier County EMTs Jaemyn Nielson, McKinna Coombs, and Becca Chappel shared some thoughts on what being an EMT is like. 

“I really like being an EMT,” said Jaemyn Nielson. “Not only do you get to help other people, but the people you work with truly become part of your life. They become like a family.” 

McKinna agreed and added, “To me, being an EMT means I’m helping others. The sole purpose you need as an EMT is to have a passion to help people.” McKinna also added that being an EMT is exciting and rewarding. “It’s a really big adrenaline rush,” she said. 

Even though being an EMT is challenging, McKinna has had many good experiences. Her favorite part is responding to trauma calls. “Even though there are a lot of emotions, somehow, you’re just able to set aside your own feelings and focus on the call. Your ‘A-game’ comes out,” she said. She also added, lightheartedly, that riding in the ambulance with lights and siren can be fun. 

Becca Chappell, both an emergency nurse and EMT, enjoys working with different county agencies. “I like working with all the different agencies, and I like all the different things we get to do,” says Becca. “We get to go to trainings to learn how to do things like mountain rescues and boat rescues and do inter-agency trainings with the police and fire departments.” 

The hardest part about being an EMT, according to McKinna and Becca, is dealing with pediatric trauma. “[Pediatric trauma] is hard. You prep [emotionally] so much for everything, but when you get the call that it’s a pediatric, everything just kind of blows up—there are lots of emotions with pediatric trauma calls, especially dealing with families,” McKinna said. However, they approach every call with the same bravery and desire to help, and difficult situations come with the territory. 

Becca also revealed that EMT numbers have been a challenge. “We need EMTs in the community. We need volunteers. We need people to step up,” she said. “We have a volunteer ambulance service because we’re a small rural community. The hardest part right now is recruiting, training, and keeping our EMTs and our volunteers.” 

 “I think people have a strong sense of volunteerism, and we have classes every year, but people have very busy lives,” Becca said. “It’s very hard in our day and age right now. People—moms and dads—need to keep jobs. It’s really hard to find time to devote yourself to a 120-hour class, find time to run on the ambulance, and watch children and go to a full-time job. I think times have changed in the last 30 or 40 years and it’s a lot harder to be a volunteer. People are willing to do that, but once they get into it and realize how much time it really does take, they just naturally end up having to quit. Or, sometimes, we recruit younger EMTs and they have to move on with their lives. They get married, they have children, they move on to go to college, and they end up moving out of the valley—and that’s just a natural part of life. So, recruiting and retaining our EMTs is a real challenge.”  

Anyone interested in becoming an EMT or paramedic can speak with an emergency medical professional they know or reach out to the appropriate county agencies. 

“We are sincerely grateful for EMS staff and volunteers,” says Camille Ogden, Emergency Department Manager at Sevier Valley Hospital. “They are vital to our hospital and community. We appreciate their dedication and bravery and thank them for the care and compassion they give, and for risking their own safety to help others.” 

“They take time away from their own families to help keep us safe 24/7,” says Camille. “We thank our EMTs and paramedics again for their passion and want them to know we appreciate working together with them as a healthcare team.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” This week, we celebrate the brave men and women serving in Emergency Medical Services across the country and offer our thanks. 

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