ASHLAND – When a child is suddenly sick or injured, parents often take them to the hospital themselves rather than rely on the local rescue squad. But the Ashland Rescue Department is hoping to change that by adding a new pediatric certification.
The department was recently certified by the Nebraska Emergency Medical Services for Children as a pediatric-ready ambulance program through the Nebraska Pediatric Decal Recognition Program.
“It shows that we’re ready for kids in our ambulance services and our education,” said Hart.
The population of Nebraska is made up of 24% children under the age of 18, and the child mortality rate in the state is 19.8%, according to information provided by the Nebraska Emergency Medical Services for Children, mainly because of geographical challenges.
Statistics shows that pediatric calls account for about 13% of all emergency medical services calls. Many of these calls were answered by volunteer units like Ashland’s.
There were several steps the department had to go through in order to gain the certification, including writing up competency and outreach plans. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed their plans to hold a safety fair and other community programs, Hart said.
Hart said 10 members of the department took a pediatric education preparedness course last year. The majority of these individuals are the ones who go on most of the calls, she added.
The members will go through refresher courses periodically and the department will reapply for certification every two years, Hart said.
The department also recently received a specialized piece of equipment to be used when transporting children. The pediatric stretcher is specially fitted to carry children of varying sizes safely and comfortably.
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