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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Boston EMS

May 23, 2013 5:43 AM

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(Photo credit: Boston EMS/Facebook)

(Photo credit: Boston EMS/Facebook)

Boston EMS crews save countless lives in Boston each year. You see them all across the city. But here are five things you didn’t know about Boston EMS.
(Photo from the Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo from the Wikimedia Commons)

1. Idea For An Ambulance

The idea of Boston’s first ambulance service came about in 1861. A wealthy landowner left several apartment buildings to the city with the order to sell them and use the money to build a hospital for the lower classes – either in Fort Hill or the South End.

Fort Hill residents squashed the idea of a hospital in their neighborhood. So, the City Council chose a site in the South End, which at the time was a barren landfill inconveniently located several miles away from any homes.

“This inconvenience will be obviated in some measure by distributing about the city ambulance wagons, contrived for the purpose of carrying to the hospital, without jar or exposure, patients unable to endure the motion of ordinary vehicles,” the City Council wrote.

2. First Transport

31 years after the City Council promised ambulances, the City Hospital Ambulance Service transported its first patient. The service comprised of 11 horses, 2 carriages, and 12 men who served as horse keepers, chore men & porters. Those men had no medical training. So, patients transported by ambulance did not receive medical attention until they reached the hospital.

(Photo credit: Boston EMS/Facebook)

(Photo credit: Boston EMS/Facebook)


3. Bike Ops

Boston EMS began bike operations in 1996. The Boston EMS bike team operated on every shift until 1998. EMS ditched the full-time bike unit in 1998 and has since designated the bike team to provide support for large-scale events like First Night, St. Patrick’s Day, the Boston Marathon, and July 4th celebrations.

(Photo credit: Boston EMS/Facebook)

(Photo credit: Boston EMS/Facebook)

4. By The Numbers

Boston EMS is the largest municipal EMS Provider in New England. It’s 350+ uniformed staff members respond to more than 100,000 calls each year. From those calls, they transport 69,000+ patients to area hospitals each year. During peak hours, 19 Basic Life Support ambulances and 5 Advanced Life Support Ambulances cover the 45.7 square miles that make up Boston.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

5. Help With The Obesity Epidemic

Consequences of a growing nationwide obesity epidemic prompted Boston EMS to launch its first bariatric truck in 2011. The truck is designed with a custom-made hydraulic lift capable of lifting 1,000 pounds, allowing EMS to more effectively accommodate obese patients. The bariatric truck responded to 128 emergency medical calls in its first year in service. The truck also likely prevented a number of additional trips to the hospital.

“In this profession, that is one of our biggest injuries is back injuries, and that’s what really cuts a lot of our folks from stop doing their job because it’s the injuries that they develop doing their job,” Capt. Jose Archila, Boston EMS said back in 2011.

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