Beginning of Paris EMS
On September 1, 1979, the City of Paris began providing emergency and non-emergency ambulance service to the citizens of Paris and Lamar County. Prior to 1979, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Paris and Lamar County had been provided by funeral homes, a private service, and by a hospital.
The Paris EMS station was located in the southwest portion of the old police station located at 811 Bonham Street. This area was being used for storage and required remodeling for occupation. The remodel was assisted by off-duty EMS personnel who created an office, kitchen, bedrooms, storeroom, and bathrooms. Telephone requests for ambulance service were received and dispatched by the EMS shift supervisor at this time.
Improving Patient Care Levels
Two Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances were staffed 24 hours a day with one of the two attendants being a certified Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B). Personnel were on duty an average of 84 hours per week. This was before mandatory overtime rules were in effect. In 1981 staff training was improved to allow two EMT-Bs on each ambulance. The average hours of work per week was also lowered to 72 hours by utilizing set shifts.
The level of care was increased to Advanced Life Support (ALS) in 1982, with the use of EMT-Intermediates. At that time the EMT-I was known as EMT-Special Skills. Crews were allowed to start IVs and intubate (placing a breathing tube into the patient’s lungs). The first EMS Medical Director, Dr. Ed McCullough, authorized the utilization of these new skills in November 1982.
Throughout 1983 and 1984, EMS staff was attending paramedic school with the goal of improving the level of patient care to Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU). This goal and several other changes occurred in September 1984. EMS crews were now working an average of 56 hours per week. All EMS dispatching responsibilities were transferred to the Dispatch Division of the Paris Police Department.