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Responding to life-threatening calls

No one ever knows when an accident will happen. 911 calls come in around the clock in response to life-threatening heart attacks, sports injuries, overdoses, falls, and motor vehicle accidents, to name just a few. As owners of a leading regional ambulance company, MedStar’s Nicholas Melehov and Gregory Melehov have made it our duty – and our heartfelt mission – to respond to any and all calls as quickly as absolutely possible.

In emergency medical services (EMS), it is considered the gold standard to respond to emergency calls within eight minutes 90 percent of the time. Even though there is no nationwide law or regulation regarding emergency medical response times, this is the standard response time every EMS organization strives for.

Here at MedStar, we’re proud of the fact that our response times are consistently well within that guideline. With ambulances strategically located at fire stations around the cities we serve, our crews are rolling within minutes of receiving a 911 call and being dispatched. In fact, in Fitchburg, our ambulance crews are on scene in under five minutes after dispatch, and typically within three minutes in Gardner.

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Emergency Non-Opioid Pain Treatment Options

The United State is in the grip of an opioid abuse crisis. Here in Massachusetts, 2000 individuals lost their lives through opioid addiction in 2016 alone, according to government statistics. To help combat this growing problem, MedStar owners Nicholas Melehov and Gregory Melehov have embraced the statewide requirement for all emergency medical service (EMS) providers to provide opiate alternatives in situations that require non-severe pain relief.

The new alternative pain protocols include the use of non-addictive pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and Toradol in dosages administered by emergency medical care providers who have received additional training. The benefit for our patients will be effective pain treatment without having to resort to medications that have a high potential for abuse. Of course, our advanced life support (ALS) ambulances will continue to be supplied with controlled substance pain medications for traumatic injuries such as broken bones that may require more significant pain management.

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Fleet Eyes: How Medical Transport Technology Helps Our Patients

Modern medical technology not only helps MedStar provide better emergency medical care to our patients, it helps us get them to an emergency medical facility faster and more efficiently.

When MedStar owners Nicholas Melehov and Gregory Melehov started MedStar ambulance service, a cornerstone of their mission philosophy was a commitment to providing the fastest, most efficient, and effective emergency medical care and transportation possible. A critical factor in being able to deliver on that commitment was the use of the latest digital technology including Fleet Eyes GPS navigational tools and medical transport management software.

According to Nick Melehov and Greg Melehov, Fleet Eyes enables MedStar dispatchers to better understand, manage, and utilize our state-of-the-art ambulances and highly trained emergency medical staff to reach, treat, and transport patients based on patient needs and closest ambulance availability. When an emergency call comes into our dispatch center, Fleet Eyes collects incident information and location to assist the dispatcher in determining the nearest resources and help ensure that the patient is transported to the nearest appropriate hospital or other emergency care facility.

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Winter Safety Tips

Winter is a wonderful time for holiday cheer and family celebration. We here at MedStar want to be sure you and your family are well prepared. However, it’s also a time of dangerous environmental conditions. Icy roads or heavy snowfall can spell disaster in many areas. With that in mind, here are some tips for staying safe this winter.

Drain your pipes

Poor insulation on water pipes comes with an increasingly high risk of bursting as water freezes, whether they’re indoor or outdoor. Always take care of your pipes to prevent freezing. For outdoor pipes, try to drain as much water as possible from hoses, pools, etc. For indoor pipes, add extra insulation around the pipe. Finally, keep water running overnight. A small drip is fine, any running water helps prevent freezing.

For more information, check out Red Cross’s guide on freezing pipes.

Prepare your vehicle

Heavy snow means dangerous conditions on the road. Prepare a winter supply box in case you get stranded or are stuck on the road. Keep some emergency supplies as well as non-perishable food. Check the antifreeze and engine coolant in your car, as they’ll prevent the engine from freezing. Finally, check your tire pressure. Tires tend to drop a few psi over winter, and may need to be topped off to prevent a flat or difficulty driving. If you live in a heavy snow area, considering purchasing snow treads to prevent your car sliding off the road.

For more winter driving and car safety tips, check out AAA’s winter driving guide.

Prepare for power outages

While not common, it is possible for phone or power lines to be downed during winter, resulting in a loss of power to neighborhoods. If your home loses power, make sure you have portable chargers in case you need to make an emergency call. Insulate all doors and windows with blankets to try to keep as much heat in the house as possible. Keeping a stock of non-perishable food as well as batteries and medical supplies is highly recommended. If you live in an area where heavy snowfall is possible, make sure to be prepared to be snowed in.

For more safety tips, check out Tufts University’s power outage tips.

Watch for ice hazards

One of the worst parts of winter is black ice. Black ice is deadly on roads, but it’s just as deadly to those on foot. If you’re planning to walk outside during icy weather, make sure you have proper footwear. You don’t need to go as far as getting ice climbing gear, but proper boots with a good tread will help significantly. Watch for glossy and shiny pavement, as that’s more than likely black ice. Whether you’re driving or walking, keep a sharp lookout. It’s better to take it slow than risk injury.

For more tips on ice hazards and black ice during winter, check out The Sun’s black ice driving tips.

Cleaning up after a snowfall

Ensuring your home is safe after a heavy snowfall is extremely important. Ice and snow can build up on trees or your roof and cause serious damage. Make sure your roof is cleaned of ice and debris, lest your roof start leaking or collapse. Grab your snow shovel and clear out the driveway and sidewalk, and don’t forget to salt and check for ice. Check for moisture and leaks around the house. A small drip could be indicative of mold or moisture in the walls. After your house has been successfully cleared of all water and hazards, make sure to check the exterior for any damage. Finally, take a look at the trees around your house and see if any need to be cleared of ice and snow before they fall on you or your house.

For a breakdown of how to clean your roof of ice and snow, check out Ice Dam Guys guide.

Those are a few safety tips to keep in mind this winter with the cold months upon us. Remember, always stay warm and dry, and prepare based on conditions usually seen in your area.

Safety Tips for the Holidays

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.

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What makes MedStar an award-winning ambulance company

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.

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Privatization of Ambulance Service

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.

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Proud Sponsor of UMass Memorial’s Winter Ball Charity Event

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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.

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Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack

image of a man holding his hand to his chestMention 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.

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Putting Patients First

Detail of EMT worker measuring pulse on senior woman patient in ambulanceOutstanding 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.

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Worcester, MA

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