The St. Clair Ambulance District responded to 93 fewer calls last year compared to 2017.
Ambulance Chief Nick Tiepelman said the district responded to a total of 3,061 last year. In 2017, the district responded to 3,154 calls.
In 2018, the district responded to 373 sick person cases, 336 traffic incidents, 287 falls, 286 breathing problems, 273 transfers, 196 chest pains, 194 psychiatric problems, 161 mutual aid calls, 103 unconscious/fainting/near fainting, 96 diabetic problems and 81 abdominal pain calls, among other categories of calls.
Tiepelman said the district had a great year in terms of PR expansion and drug education. The public relations department doubled last year with two public relations coordinators who are focused on community outreach among children and the elderly.
Paramedic and PR coordinator Amanda Sullentrup’s primary focus is to reach out to St. Clair and Lonedell students weekly on drug education and prevention.
As part of their education program, the ambulance district created a mock video about the dangers of doing drugs. The video shows a real 911 call between a mother who found her daughter on the floor from an overdose and a dispatcher.
After the 911 call, the video shows a mock scene of what it is like when first responders are dispatched to help someone who overdosed on drugs.
A presentation is included with the video as part of the district’s drug education program implemented for fifth-through 12th-graders at St. Clair R-XIII School District and Lonedell R-XIV District. The district also teaches CPR to students and the public.
Rachel Ahrens, also a paramedic and public relations coordinator, focuses more on senior residents and community events.
Ahrens puts together monthly education classes for residents at Crabapple Village, in addition to bingo games at the St. Clair Senior Center twice a month. Ahrens said those events are to let seniors know the district is there for them when in need.
The construction of a second ambulance district location is underway with a completion date set for the end of March. The second house is at 2716 Gravois Road, which is a more centered location, according to Tiepelman.
“Our response times are going to improve to a majority of that area,” he said.
Currently, the ambulance district rents space from the fire district to house their truck and equipment at the Fire Station 2 in Lonedell for the past 16 years, according to Tiepelman.
The ambulance district also responded to 78 overdoses/poisonings/ingestions, 57 hemorrhages/lacerations, 55 convulsions/seizures, 54 strokes, 44 traumatic injuries, 47 cardiac arrests/deaths, 41 unknown problems and 36 back pains;
A total of 35 invalid assists/lifting assists, 28 assaults, 27 heart problems, 28 structure fires, 26 medical alarms, 17 allergic reactions/stings, 14 headaches, 11 heat/cold exposures, nine chokings, nine pregnancies/childbirths, eight pains;
Six water rescues, four altered mental statuses, four animal bites, three burns, three carbon monoxide/hazmat/inhalations; two gunshot wounds, one alcohol intoxication, one sexual assault and one well person check.
The ambulance district responded to 271 more calls in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2017, the district was dispatched to a total of 3,154 calls. The total in 2016 was 2,883 calls.
In 2017, the district responded to 1,864 medical calls; 340 transportation-related incidents; 539 non-vehicle trauma related calls; assisted St. Clair Fire District with 52 fires; and assist other agencies such as Union, Meramec or Sullivan 133 times.
The total number of transports were 1,800; there were 541 people who went against medical advice; and 851 calls with no patients.
Opioid-related overdoses also increased. The district treated 54 overdoses with Narcan. Those who overdosed were aged between 15 to 84.