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EMS’s bond with other agencies helps across the board

EMS, fire and police members discuss the importance of having a tight-knit community mentality

By Jacob Mcguire
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN, Okla. — EMS practitioners streamline care in the most difficult moments.

Norman police, fire and EMSStat share a special bond. This bond allows the three agencies to work in conjunction to provide services and keep Norman safe.

Deputy Norman Fire Chief Jim Bailey said the relationship EMSStat shares with the fire department and police is positive and tight-knit. It’s a team mentality, and the teams goal is one and the same.

“At the fire department in Norman, we’ve had nothing but a positive working relationship with EMSStat,” he said. “They go beyond any medical service we’ve ever worked with. On several occasions, they’ve provided support for firefighters and police officers.”

Norman Police officer Lee McWhorter agreed.

“The relationship police have with EMSStat is what separates Norman from a lot of agencies in different cities,” he said. “Police, fire and EMSStat have always had a professional working relationship and that is what makes Norman a special place to work.”

Bailey said if EMSStat did not exist, emergency services would suffer.

“If EMSStat disappeared I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for other first responders,” he said. “It would be unfortunate if they went away.”

Paramedics Bryan and Kimberly Willett said first responders depend on one another.

“We have two Norman police officers, as well as several firefighters who are are paramedics,” Bryan said. “We all try to be one giant family and work hand-in-hand.”

Kimberly and Bryan said they became paramedics for the absence of routine.

“I enjoy being able to be out and about,” Kimberly said. “The job brings something different every day, so it’s not mundane.”

Bryan, a full-time EMSStat paramedic in Norman said being a first responder came naturally.

“My father was a firefighter for 22 years, so that has always been in my blood,” he said. “Every day, every hour, brings the chance of you seeing something you’ve never seen before.”

Kimberly and Bryan said there are many misconceptions about being a paramedic.

“We are not just ambulance drivers; we are so much more than that,” Kimberly said. “We do not use paddles anymore.”

Bryan concurred.

“I think the general public isn’t fully aware of exactly what we do as paramedics and the amount of schooling that is involved with becoming a paramedic,” he said.

Kimberly, a former EMSStat paramedic who currently serves as a part-time paramedic with the McClain and Grady County E.M.S. said a paramedic faces several emotional challenges while on shift.

“There are things we as paramedics and other first responders see that we don’t want to think about again,” she said. “Sometimes you have to deal with a child that is in cardiac arrest or you have to work a car crash there are multiple patients involved.”

Both Bryan and Kimberly said it’s not always easy to remove the terrible memories of tragic situations from their minds, but they share a special relationship with each other which helps them to cope with those memories.

“Bryan and I have a unique situation because we are both paramedics, so we understand what the other one goes through,” Kimberly said. “We are able to talk to one another if we have a bad day. We have a support system between ourselves as well as the people that we work with.”

This week, millions of Americans joined that support network in celebration of E.M.S week. Originally authorized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, E.M.S week aims to honor all emergency responders.

Copyright 2016 The Norman Transcript