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Community Outreach

Paramedic Care – Training Beyond the Basics

911 first, before anything else

When a person is suffering a severe injury or sudden illness, dialing 911 allows for direct access to a county dispatch center. The dispatch centers are located at the county sheriff’s departments and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The emergency dispatcher gathers information about accidents and sudden illnesses. Based on that information, the appropriate response team is dispatched in an appropriate manner, whether it be police, fire, community first responder or ambulance. Some dispatchers also offer basic first aid instructions to the caller. Early access to the emergency system allows a faster response by emergency personnel.

Gold Cross Ambulance along with ThedaCare, Affinity Health System and Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties raised $149,000 for an 18-month multimedia campaign to increase the public’s awareness ofthe importance of calling 911 first. The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross participated in this program with the financial support of the Community Foundation, St. Elizabeth Foundation and the
United Way.

The “Chain of Survival” above was developed by the American Heart Association. Studies show that early access to 911, CPR, defibrillation and advanced life support saves lives.


A first responder is a person trained to provide initial care for patients. The role of the first responder is to assess the patient, provide basic life support such as airway control, CPR, automated external defibrillation (AED), bleeding and shock management, and splinting. A first responder may be a police officer, firefighter or a local community member.

There are currently 26 first responder groups that partner with Gold Cross on scene. Every community serviced by Gold Cross has first responders. Each group has AED capabilities. Many of the groups took advantage of a $60,000 grant received by Gold Cross from the Medtronic Foundation and many have received local community financial support.


Upon arrival, the paramedics begin an assessment of the patient that involves the ABC’s – airway, breathing and circulation. The crew works to immediately stabilize the condition of the patient utilizing their advanced life support skills which include:

  • Diagnostic Based Assessment

  • IV / Central Lines

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Procedures

  • Availability of over 30 Medications

  • Advanced Airway Management known as Intubation

  • External Cardiac Pacing

  • Pulse Oximetry

  • Cricothyrodomy

  • Needle Thoracentesis (Chest Decompression)

  • Defibrillation and Synchronized Cardio-version

Once the patient is stabilized the paramedics begin transport, usually to a local hospital. The paramedics contact the emergency room physician by radio or phone either at the scene or enroute to the hospital. With the physician’s guidance the paramedics continue treatment. Upon arrival, the paramedics report to the physician the patient’s response to treatment. The emergency room staff takes over patient care. Soon the paramedic is back in the ambulance ready for the next call.