Helping people in crisis or emergency is the mission of the Johnson County Ambulance Service (JCAS), but that is just a part of the Emergency Medical Services routinely provided to the persons in the Johnson County Area.
Access to help in emergencies
Johnson County Ambulance Service operates within an Enhanced 911 System. Placing a call for help may be done on any type of phone, by dialing 911. A trained dispatcher will answer the call and immediately send out an ambulance, first responders, and if indicated law enforcement officers.
Responses to calls
Safety is a priority at Johnson County Ambulance Service. When the public sees an ambulance responding with its lights and siren in use, it is responding to a true emergency. In fact, due to advances in technology, dispatcher training, and ambulance staging locations, JCAS responds with lights and sirens to far fewer calls today than it did just a few years ago. All Johnson County Ambulance staff attends annual training in driver safety and proficiency. Advanced training and state of the art equipment allows JCAS paramedics to transport a majority of patients to the hospital without lights and sirens. This reduces risk to the patient, paramedics, and the public while allowing the paramedics to provide the very best in patient care.
Patient assessment and history
JCAS paramedics begin a rapid assessment of the patient’s physical condition. The paramedics can then immediately begin treatment and relay this medical information to the hospital emergency room giving them time to prepare for the patients arrival.
Paramedics are able to perform many emergency interventions at the patient's side or on the way to the hospital. Treatment of injuries or illnesses that are performed before a victim is taken to the hospital has proven effective to improve the outcome of the illness or injury. Many of the skills performed by paramedics are identical to the skills that doctors and nurses provide in the emergency room. JCAS paramedics carry high-tech equipment that is portable and durable enough to be used in any type of environment, whether a patient is in their bed or on a mountain bike trail.
Paramedics are able to perform skills such as cardiac monitoring, pulse oximetry, oxygen administration, intubation, and defibrillation. Paramedics are also able to start IV’s, and administer emergency medications which may be vital to correcting illnesses or injuries such as heart problems. The paramedics are trained to recognize situations that call for intervention and act quickly to improve the patient’s condition. There are a variety of situations that the paramedics are prepared to handle, and frequent training makes them even more proficient with these lifesaving skills. The lifesaving care provided by Paramedics assures the patient’s condition is given attention from the moment the paramedics arrive at the patient’s side.
Packing and transport
Transportation or moving the patient to the hospital is a major part of Emergency Medical Services. Usually, patients with medical problems are placed on a stretcher and moved to the ambulance. Patients who are injured traumatically are handled differently according to their injuries. Severe injuries that may cause damage to a person's spinal column are handled with special care. This special care includes placing an immobilization collar around the patient’s neck, and securing the victim flat to a backboard. This minimizes the movement of the patient and prevents any further damage to the spine. Individual injuries are assessed by the paramedics to determine the best course of transportation for the patient. Transportation by ambulance is usually done at comfortable speeds.
Johnson County Ambulance Service offers many non-emergency services related to Emergency Medical Services. Inter-facility transfers compose the largest portion of non-emergency services, but JCAS also participates in promotional activities.
JCAS promotes itself by educating the public on how to access its services, when the services are needed, and the awareness of risk-associated behaviors, such as drunk driving or wearing seat-belts. Children comprise the largest target audience, yet the JCAS campaigns also involve adults. Having a public well educated in accessing the services provided by JCAS is an important goal of the JCAS public education campaign.
Inter-facility transfers utilize ambulances to move a patient from one facility to another, be it a hospital, long-term care facility, or a residence. These are typically routine in nature, using an ambulance because the patient is still in need of medical care, but needs to be moved to a more appropriate facility.
JCAS provides emergency medical care to all spectators, athletes, and staff at University of Iowa athletic events. These large crowd events have attendance’s from 15,000 - 75,000 persons, with football games being the largest events. JCAS provides similar coverage to other large events. Music concerts at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa Memorial Union, area festivals and celebrations.