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Plum EMS director offers flu advice

| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 1:19 p.m.

Plum Emergency Service is taking steps to battle the flu outbreak.

EMS director Tom Izydore took the opportunity during a council meeting Monday night to advise residents who are not experiencing an emergency to gauge the necessity of going to a hospital.

“Hospitals are jammed,” Izydore said. “Treatment can be delayed two to three or four hours. Use common sense and call your doctor and see if you need a hospital.”

Izydore also said the ambulance service or EMS staff might ask patients who are being transported to a hospital to wear a surgical mask to help prevent the spread of germs among the 35 paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

Izydore said ambulances are being stocked with additional antiseptic soaps and creams to try to ensure a safe environment for patients.

Izydore also said the ambulance service is getting busier.

The ambulance service last year was dispatched to 2,775 calls and transported 1,809 patients to emergency departments, he said.

Comparatively, Izydore said, the nearly 22-year-old ambulance service or EMS was dispatched to 2,743 calls in 2011 and transported 1,843 patients to emergency departments.

Izydore said the number of calls increased while the number of transports decreased.

He said the expanding community and older population are contributing factors to calls being on the rise.

“The numbers were high last year,” Izydore said.

“Last year the calls for service increased. The community is growing, and the population is getting older.”

Izydore said the opening of the new UPMC East hospital in Monroeville has cut down on transport time for Plum EMS.

“The question with the new hospital was would it influence where new patients went,” Izydore said.

“We are going Downtown (Oakland) where other UPMC hospitals are located. For us, it is a positive.”

Deputy Director Bob Moran said the ambulance service will be conducting its annual subscription drive starting later this month.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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