The holidays should be a time for joyous get-togethers with friends and family to celebrate the season and ring in the New Year. But too often, common sense and caution take a back seat to celebration and accidents occur that require a call to 911.
Here are a few safety tips, courtesy of Allstate Insurance, that can help keep you and your family safe this holiday season:
Candles and Christmas Light Safety
Flickering candlelight looks beautiful, but real candles should never be used on or near a Christmas tree (the earliest Christmas trees were illuminated by candles). Even Christmas lights can pose a fire safety problem. Frayed wires left unattended can overheat, turning a dry tree into a raging inferno in just seconds. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, home holiday decorations cause over 400 holiday fires each year, resulting in $15 million in property loss and damage.
Safety tip: Decorating for Christmas shouldn’t be a hazard. Only use electric lights that are rated for Christmas trees and tested by a recognized laboratory (you’ll usually find a sticker noting the laboratory’s approval on the cord), and keep your tree well-watered to reduce flammability.
There are lots of privately owned ambulance companies out there serving communities and their residents with good medical transport and emergency medical care service, but to rise above merely good to something more requires a special dedication to quality care, ultra-reliable service, and advanced technology and training.
MedStar owners, Nicholas Melehov and Gregory Melehov, learned this early on in their growth and management of MedStar. Starting with just three employees and a single ambulance almost twenty years ago, MedStar has since grown under the close care of Nick Melehov and Greg Melehov into the area’s leading ambulance company with 400 employees, 12 locations, and 100 ambulance and advanced life support vehicles serving the communities and healthcare facilities of Central and Western Massachusetts.
In fact, we know of no other ambulance service in the region as well-equipped with the latest emergency care and communications technology as MedStar. Our ambulance service has state-of-the-art equipment, including power stretchers, to ensure patient comfort and safety. All our ambulances have wi-fi connectivity and paperless, secure electronic record-keeping to protect patients’ privacy and provide seamless, efficient, and accurate medical information transfers to physicians and healthcare facilities.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that accidents and illness happen every day in cities and towns across the nation. To help keep residents safe and alive, municipalities offer ambulance and emergency medical services to quickly treat patients and deliver them to hospitals and other medical facilities. These services, of course, cost money which ultimately comes from the taxpayers. As a result, many communities provide emergency medical service (EMS), often through their fire department, while others believe privatization and outsourcing EMS to third party ambulance services is the way to go to keep expenses down and control budgets.
According to MedStar owners Nicholas Melehov and Gregory Melehov, privatization of ambulance services for many municipalities can be a hot button for debate. By providing EMS services through their fire departments, many communities gain a revenue stream that can often add much needed money to their coffers. However, that comes at an expense – providing EMS and ambulance service as part of their general fire-rescue operations requires lots of manpower, equipment, maintenance, fuel, billing services and insurance, to name some of the expenses involved. If the municipality is not seeing positive revenue from its public service – or at least breaking even — that certainly can be a bone of contention with taxpayers.
image courtesy of UMassMed.edu (https://www.umassmed.edu/winterball/)
As a medical transport company dedicated to serving the communities of greater central Massachusetts, MedStar is a proud sponsor of the UMass Medical School’s gala Winter Ball black tie event which raises money for area medical programs in need.
Last year, Nick Melehov and Greg Melehov, owners of this family-run ambulance service, were instrumental in making the Winter Ball event a success, helping raise more than $250,000 in gifts and pledges for The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) Clinic. CANDO is an outpatient clinic and collaborative effort between University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School that offers a variety of services in central Massachusetts for youth and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges and complex presentations. Today, CANDO is helping lead the fight against mental illness and addiction in our region.
What would cause Gregory Melehov and Nicholas Melehov to take time away from running their ambulance service to don black tie and tux and help out with a ball? Commitment to their communities. As a family owned and operated business, they have never lost sight of their original mission statement, “to provide the highest quality care to the communities, facilities, and patients whom we serve.” For some companies, that kind of statement may just be a lofty sentiment. For them, it is the very core of their business and how it is managed.
Mention a heart attack to many people and they might visualize a person dramatically clutching their chest and falling down; but the truth is, heart attack symptoms vary and they can be subtle. In fact, one-third of patients who had heart attacks had no chest pain at all.
The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Some people can have few symptoms and are surprised to learn they’ve had a heart attack. If you’ve already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. It is important for you to know the most common symptoms of a heart attack and also remember these facts:
- Heart attacks can start slowly and cause only mild pain or discomfort. Symptoms can be mild or more intense and sudden. Symptoms also may come and go over several hours.
- People who have high blood sugar (diabetes) may have no symptoms or very mild ones.
- The most common symptom, in both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort.
- Women are somewhat more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, unusual tiredness (sometimes for days), and pain in the back, shoulders, and jaw.
Outstanding patient care starts with highly-trained and motivated medical professionals. But all that training and skill will only go so far – the proper equipment and latest technology are critical components of quality emergency medical care, too.
At MedStar, we strive to provide leading-edge emergency medical equipment and care to help every single patient. Our approach is two-pronged – providing our care providers with the latest, ongoing educational opportunities to stay ahead in a rapidly-changing industry while ensuring that our family of employees also has the most advanced and effective equipment needed to help save lives.
As one of only a few private ambulance services in the area trusted to provide both hospital transport and municipal 911 service, our priority is to provide top-level medical care personnel and state-of-the-art equipment to treat and assist our patients, around-the-clock, regardless of the situation and environment.
Chances are good you’ve probably never thought about who owns your ambulance service, but you should. Like any business, who owns it can make a good deal of difference in the service – or in this case, the care – you receive.
Just like many industries and businesses, ambulance services have a wide range of operation types and can be nationally or locally owned. Some are not even based in the United States. If you are a healthcare facility owner/operator or a community emergency services director looking to partner with an ambulance service it’s helpful to know the difference a locally-owned service makes.
Locally-owned and operated ambulance companies such as MedStar are fully-committed members of the communities they serve. And while the owners of MedStar began their careers in emergency medical services working for a national company, they started their own local ambulance company after experiencing the “big business” attitude and impersonal touch associated with a large, national firm.
There’s an old saying that a service organization’s most valuable assets walk out the door every night. That refers, of course, to employees and here at MedStar we know how true that is.
As an emergency medical care and transportation company we strive to be the very best and as a result we attract the very best emergency medical care professionals. We know how valuable they are to our organization and our patients and we like to think we have a solid history of demonstrating our employee appreciation. We know our employees are the best in the business and every year MedStar tries to find new ways to celebrate their contributions to our company and community. From our annual holiday raffle and EMS Night at The Mountain to our yearly EMS Week gifts and meals, we strive to show our people just how much we appreciate them. They deserve recognition.
This year alone we’re giving out almost two dozen life-saving awards which recognize the remarkable work our fantastic EMTs and Paramedics have done when they’ve restarted a patient’s heart after they’ve experienced cardiac arrest. As a result, those patients are able to continue a normal life, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our crews.
When someone picks up the phone and calls 9-1-1, they automatically assume that help will be coming. But most people don’t know what happens behind the scenes that enables that response — the systems in place to get the right people to the right place and the chain of events that get triggered with every emergency call.
When you make a 9-1-1 call from a landline phone at a residence, business, or other location, the phone number from which you are calling determines which 9-1-1 center receives the call for assistance. Cell phone calls, however, are processed differently, though there are similarities. Cell phones transmit a signal to the nearest cellular tower. The signal is transmitted to the closest 9-1-1 center, as determined by the location of the cell tower that receives the incoming call. Because mobile phone call routing can be complex, cell phone calls are sometimes not routed to the correct 9-1-1 call center; however, 9-1-1 staff are trained to direct your call to the correct center to get the help you need.
Response time for emergency medical responders such as EMTs and paramedics is a major focus for emergency care companies and their employees who are committed to serving the public and saving lives.
While there are no federal laws regarding emergency medical response times, since the 1970s, the gold standard for determining the quality of an EMS system has been to arrive within eight minutes 90 percent of the time. Here at MedStar, we’re proud to be able to claim typical response times that are significantly better than that – in Fitchburg, our emergency medical personnel are on the scene in less than five minutes after dispatch. In Gardner, response time is typically cut to an average of a mere three minutes.
How do we do it?