Campaign to encourage use of 9-1-1 continues

08/20/2007

GREEN BAY - "Make the Right Call," a Northeastern Wisconsin campaign to encourage people to dial 9-1-1 for medical emergencies instead of driving themselves or others to the hospital, is having an impact around the area, experts say.

"Since we began the campaign, we've received feedback from residents and emergency medical services workers that they have heard, seen or read about the effort, and that's a great start," said Andrea Werner, director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Bellin Health. The campaign was launched by Bellin Health and the Green Bay Packers in May.

As part of the campaign, area residents are being asked to share their EMS stories.

"We are compiling stories that show the care and dedication of our emergency workers," said Werner. "These can be personal stories or stories involving family or friends. It doesn"t matter where in Northeast Wisconsin these situations occurred, or which EMS provider or medical facility they used. We know there are wonderful stories out there and we want to recognize the meaningful work the EMS community does by sharing these stories."

The deadline for story submissions is August 31, 2007. The stories collected will be evaluated by a group of medical personnel, including EMS workers, who will select a cross section of stories that showcase both EMS workers and the effective use of 9-1-1. A special photo and story display will be exhibited at Lambeau Field this fall, with EMS workers to be honored at a Packers game on October 14, 2007.

"Make the Right Call" submission forms can be found:

"These stories will not only recognize area EMS workers, but will serve as inspiration to the community at large," said Captain Mark Schroeder of the Green Bay Fire Department. "Oftentimes people don't realize that calling 9-1-1 for medical emergencies can mean the difference between life and death. The decision to call may seem clear if it's a catastrophic event, but often when it's less clear, like the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack. People will put off going to the hospital or may decide to drive themselves to the doctor."

No matter the perceived severity, the decision to make that call at the onset of symptoms can have a dramatic effect on a person's recovery or survival. Literally, minutes matter when getting help, and that help starts as the ambulance makes its way to a location.

"On the way, EMS professionals are initiating the care for the patient as they are the first step in the continuum of care and they are in touch with other medical professionals at the hospital," explains cardiologist Rick Timmons, M.D. "The help you get in the first minutes of a medical problem can make the difference. We want people to call 9-1-1."

"EMS workers save lives everyday, but they aren't often recognized for their efforts," said Werner. "In addition to encouraging 9-1-1 use, we are giving some much deserved acknowledgment to all EMS workers in Northeast Wisconsin. Our goal is to involve and educate the public while improving medical outcomes for area residents."