BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — When disaster strikes, this highly trained team is on the job. The Baton Rouge Department of Emergency Medical Services makes sure the sick or injured get the medical care they need as fast as possible.
When you're in the business of saving lives, anything can happen. "You can go from delivering a child one minute to helping somebody with a splinter the next," says Special Operations Supervisor Tom Harris. "You never know what the next call's going to bring."
EMS makes sure you get help before you even get to the hospital. They're on the scene for everything from fires and shootings to car accidents and illness. "You're working in the hurricanes. You're working in the heat. You're working in the cold. It's not your typical Monday through Friday office job," says Harris.
There's more to the department than just the teams inside the ambulances. The employees at the call center have a big job to do too. "We are the first line of someone's help when they call 911," says John Graham. "We are the first person that is there to help them."
If a person calls 911 within the city limits, the first person who picks up the phone will be an EMS officer. They receive about a thousand calls a day. Communications officers, like Graham, are the people who dispatch the ambulances, sending them where they need to go, and fast.
"They're like chess pieces," Harris says of the ambulances. "Always moving around to make sure we have adequate coverage around the city."
It takes a special kind of person to do this job.
"It's not just a job. It's a career and a calling." Some days are tougher than others, but folks, like Harris, say it's well worth it. "You may not win every call. Someone may be in cardiac arrest. You may not be able to save them, but as long as you give 110% of yourself for that call, you're giving them an opportunity they wouldn't have had if you weren't there."