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One of the last clinical requirements handed down, by EMS Programs Director Scott Endres, to the students in his 2013 Paramedic Class at Southeast Arkansas College was to spend a weekend riding on the streets of Memphis. To accomplish these assignment students were given the unique opportunity to ride with the men and women of the Memphis Fire Department

The Memphis Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service system is one of the first-based EMS systems in the United States beginning in 1966 with a fleet of eight emergency ambulances that handled approximately 8,000 runs during its first year of service. Today, the Memphis Fire Department is an all advanced life support (ALS) system operating 36 ALS ambulances, 56 ALS engines, and 21 BLS ladder truck companies. There are also 5 EMS lieuten- ants and one EMS Battalion Chief on each shift. The Memphis Fire Department has a total of 98 pieces of fire appa- ratus that are ALS capable with firefighter/paramedics available for emergency calls each day.

In 2011, the Memphis Fire Department responded on 106,328 EMS runs and transported 75,156 patients. There are approximately 500 firefighter/paramedics and 1,100 firefighter/EMTs in the Memphis Fire Department. The balance of firefighters are certified first responders. The Memphis Fire Department is the largest EMS system in the state of Tennessee and the mid-south.

The Memphis Fire Department operates one of the most progressive EMS systems in the United States utilizing some of the latest treatment protocols and procedures including Induced hypothermia and mechanical CPR devices for cardiac arrest patients, CPAP for congestive heart failure patients, and intraosseous infusion for intravenous fluid access. The Memphis Fire Department also has an aggressive STEMI (ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction) program with an average time of 65 minutes from first-paramedic-contact-to-balloon in a hospital cardiac cath lab.

The EMS system not only encompasses a field operation component, but an extensive EMS education program and quality improvement program of any EMS training organization in the nation. They are nationally accredited by CoAEMSP and their pass rate for paramedic National Registry has held at 96% for several years. Several of their top paramedic instructors are directly involved with NREMT writing exam questions. The Memphis Fire Department is the only non-university or college in the State of Tennessee authorized to educate paramedics. In addition, the Mem- phis Fire Department also conducts Emergency Medical Technician classes and numerous continuing education pro- grams.

SEARK College paramedic intern Shanna McDonnell-Phillips said “I have to say, my classmates and I had an in- credible experience. The Memphis Fire Department did an as excellent job preceptors. We were greeted with open arms and an immeasurable amount of knowledge with their vast training. I was with an awesome crew that taught me so much has given me experiences, I won’t soon forget… some serious and some funny. I would trust my family to them any day, Thank you Memphis FD!”

Intern Suzanne Kirkpatrick also commented “We made it! Thanks MFD for given us this opportunity and I think we are coming back to Arkansas with new friends”.

“I am very proud of these guys. Each and every one of them earned the right to be here. Looking forward to bringing the Class of 2014!!” Endres said.

For more information about the emergency medical sciences programs at SEARK College email emsprograms@seark.edu