City’s EMS cel­e­brates 50 years

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Burch­fiel Staff Writer ■ mburch­

This year, Siloam Springs’ Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vice turns 50 years old. That mile­stone was cel­e­brated last week, which also marked the 43rd an­nual National EMS Week.

Siloam Springs’ first re­spon­ders held a cel­e­bra­tion at Fire Sta­tion 1 on Friday, May 26, which in­cluded ac­tiv­i­ties and food for those present.

Points of in­ter­est at the cel­e­bra­tion in­cluded a he­li­copter for visi­tors to in­spect, years worth of EMS equip­ment on dis­play, in­for­ma­tive dis­plays and framed im­por­tant doc­u­ments. Fire Chief Jere­mey Criner also gave a short pre­sen­ta­tion to wel­come visi­tors and honor re­tirees.

Be­fore clos­ing the short speak­ing-por­tion of the event, Criner asked that all former mem­bers of Siloam Springs’ EMS ser­vice stand to be rec­og­nized for their ser­vice. The re­tirees were given a round of ap­plause.

One of those honored was Vestor Cripps, who has vol­un­teered at the Siloam Springs Fire Depart­ment since April of 1989. Dur­ing that time, Cripps also served with the Gen­try Fire Depart­ment, first as a vol­un­teer, then as Fire Chief.

Criner pre­sented a cer­e­mo­nial fire ax to Cripps, who for­mally re­tires at the end of the month.

Deputy Fire Chief Brent Ford gave a brief pre­sen­ta­tion of the his­tory of the city’s EMS.

“In 1967, ba­si­cally a ba­sic life sup­port ser­vice be­gan,” Ford said. “And that was the sta­ple of the day - ba­sic life sup­port.”

The fledgeling depart­ment had

to con­tract out train­ing when lead­ers chose to ex­pand ser­vice to in­clude ad­vanced life sup­port. At least two mem­bers of the first class of paramedics for the city were present.

Ford spoke about the advancements the depart­ment has made over the years. A doc­u­ment was on dis­play that de­tailed some of the EMS team’s first am­bu­lances — a pair of 1972 GMC vans and a pair of 1964 Cadil­lac am­bu­lances for longer trips.

Or­di­nance 624, which es­tab­lished the am­bu­lance ser­vice in 1967, was

A s you can kind of tell from the equip­ment out here, there’s a lot that has changed for the EMS ser­vice over the last 50 years. The changes are lit­er­ally daily. Brent Ford Deputy Fire Chief

also on dis­play in a frame. The or­di­nance said that the city voted to de­clare am­bu­lance ser­vice a pub­lic util­ity af­ter the ex­ist­ing ser­vice an­nounced it was go­ing out of busi­ness on April 31, 1967. The city found no new ser­vice to re­place it, and so es­tab­lished its own EMS, ac­cord­ing to the or­di­nance text.

“As you can kind of tell from the equip­ment out here, there’s a lot that has changed for the EMS ser­vice over the last 50 years,” Ford said. “The changes are lit­er­ally daily.”

One of those changes is an ef­fort to help mem­bers of the pub­lic re­spond to emer­gen­cies when they see them. Ford said the depart­ment will host a CPR class at the Siloam Springs Farm­ers Mar­ket on June 10 from 9 a.m. to noon. If mem­bers of the pub­lic know ba­sic CPR tech­niques, it dras­ti­cally raises vic­tim sur­viv­abil­ity rates, Ford said.

Michael Burch­fiel/Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs Fire Chief Jere­mey Criner (left) pre­sented Vestor Cripps with a cer­e­mo­nial fire axe dur­ing the 50 years of EMS cel­e­bra­tion Friday.

Michael Burch­fiel/Her­ald-Leader

A mem­ber of the Siloam Springs Fire Depart­ment demon­strated CPR tech­niques as part of an in­for­ma­tive booth.

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