Get a free book! Sign up for my newsletter and get a FREE Book!Get a free book!

Emergency! Responding in the Big Easy

It began with horse drawn carriages in the 1900's.

I became fascinated with the lives of first responders when my little brother became a cop. Then EMERGENCY turned up on MeTV, reminding me I used to watch it back when. And also reminding me what emergency services used to be like (one or two guys with first aid training, no really, that’s how it used to be). 

When I created the Baker family, they were all about helping, with most of them being in the first responder category. In my latest entry in my Big Uneasy series, Worry Beads, the heroine Laura is an EMT, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the history of EMS in New Orleans. 

New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the chief provider of advanced life support (ALS) and EMS— treating and transporting of people in crisis, often life-threatening, from car accidents to heart attacks and much more. 

Beginning with hospital-based horse-drawn ambulances in the early 1900’s Emergency Medical Services in the City of New Orleans has an impressive history which they carry on today. The horse-powered ambulances were run by Charity Hospital which was headquartered on Tulane Avenue at the downtown-lakeside corner of South Villere Street. Charity was advanced for its time as it was among the first hospitals in the country, along with Cincinnati General and Grady Hospital in Atlanta, to provide emergency medical services. In 1907 the New Orleans horse-drawn Ambulance Service answered 1,929 calls with an average response time of twenty-eight minutes.

The New Orleans Police Department began the EMS division in 1947. Starting in the 1970’s, they staffed emergency medical technicians on the ambulances, and later in 1979, the first paramedics.

New Orleans EMS is a first responder to the city of New Orleans Louisiana for crisis health care, the first resort on the scene for urgent medical diagnosis and treatment. When needed they take the patient to the next point of care, usually a hospital emergency room. 

They fulfill the basic first aid principles:

  • Preserve Life
  • Prevent Further Injury
  • and Promote Recovery.

And the six stages of pre-hospital care symbolized in the star of life: 

  • Early detection – another agency or the public see the incident and understand the problem
  • Early reporting – the first person or people on scene calls 911 (the emergency medical services) and gives them the facts they need to send urgent help
  • Early response – the first professional (EMS) rescuers are dispatched and arrive on the scene as fast as possible, enabling care to begin
  • Good on-scene/ field care – EMS delivers appropriate and timely interventions to treat the patient at the scene without causing further harm.
  • Care in transit –EMS loads the patient into suitable transport and continues to provide appropriate medical care throughout the journey
  • Transfer to definitive care – the patient is handed over to an appropriate care setting, such as a hospital emergency room, and into a doctor or doctors’ care

In 1885, EMS was moved from the police department to the New Orleans Health Department. Following Hurricane Katrina, the administrative management of New Orleans EMS was transferred to the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The New Orleans Health Department is still financially responsible for EMS, but the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency oversees EMS. 

Here is New Orleans EMS Mission Statement word for word:

To provide the highest quality pre-hospital emergency care to individuals living in and visiting New Orleans. As public servants, our sense of purpose will be reflected solely in our time sensitive, medically sound and respectful, compassionate delivery of professional emergency medical services. 

While we never personally needed an ambulance while we lived in New Orleans (note that distinction: in New Orleans), we had friends whose lives were saved by these amazing people who rush in and rush toward. 

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about Laura’s adventures and do a little catch up with some of the other Bakers. I know I sure loved getting back to New Orleans!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close