It’s time to honor emergency medical service providers

These dedicated men and women perform a vital service

In Webster County and all across America, teams of dedicated professionals stand ready to render medical assistance in emergencies. For some this is their career. For many others, it is a volunteer undertaking that is performed in addition to their normal employment.

It’s impossible to overstate how important emergency medical service (EMS) personnel can be to just about any of us in a moment when knowledgeable help is needed fast. Honoring the men and women who handle this vital work is appropriate at all times, but especially so just now. That’s because National EMS Week began Sunday and continues through Saturday.

In 1974, President Gerald Ford proclaimed the first National EMS Week.

Now, the event is led by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

In Fort Dodge, pre-hospital emergency care is provided by the Fire Department. Its roster is filled with firefighters cross trained as paramedics or EMTs, plus a handful of EMTs and paramedics who are not firefighters. The department has six fully-equipped ambulances, and medical gear is carried on all the fire trucks.

On July 1, 2018, the Fort Dodge Fire Department assumed full responsibility for the ambulance service once provided by UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center in a transition that hospital and city officials say provides outstanding care in a financially sustainable way.

The hospital had provided ambulance service since 1958, when it was known as Lutheran Hospital. That service continued as the facility’s name changed to Bethesda General Hospital in 1969, to Trinity Regional Hospital in 1974 and to today’s UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center.

The Fort Dodge Fire Department is by no means the only provider of emergency medical care in Webster County. There are volunteer EMS units in Gowrie, Dayton and Vincent. Firefighters, deputy sheriffs and police officers serve in a vital first responder role before the ambulances arrive.

Throughout the region there are other EMS agencies ready to assist at a moment’s notice. They include ambulance services operated by Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, Humboldt County Memorial Hospital in Humboldt and Pocahontas Community Hospital in Pocahontas. Calhoun and Sac counties both have countywide EMS systems.

The Humboldt County Memorial Hospital ambulance unit was recognized in 2020 as the best one in the state that operates with a mostly volunteer crew.

The public is grateful for the service of all EMS providers, and we are as well.


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