Spring Break Keeps EMS Busy

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PANAMA CITY BEACH - Bay County's Emergency Medical Services are being stretched thin by spring break.

"Whenever you get this many people together having a good time people are going to get hurt," said Mark Bowen, Emergency Management Chief.

Since the spring break season began last week, Bay County's Emergency Medical Service Emergency's call volume has double, from an average of 60 calls a day to120.

Bowen said, "There's no question, it's a stressful time of year for first responders."

The need is so great Bowen says EMS adds extra staff, and works everyone over-time, during spring break.

"We put on what we call, 'float trucks' with EMS, so that more trucks are available during peak times," said Bowen.

Bowen credits EMS's closer working relationship with the different law enforcement agencies for the safer environment this year over year's past.

"They are really juggling these calls passing them off to each other, making sure that if an ambulance can't get someplace in a timely fashion then at least a paramedic gets there. It's like an orchestra out there," said Bowen.

While the paramedics and EMT's appear to be carrying the brunt of the additional load, the people behind the scenes are just as busy.

He said, "The busiest people of all are going to be the 9-1-1 call-takers and the dispatchers."

Brian Hardin, Communications Supervisor said, "It's busy we eat at our station, we relieve each other so we can go use the restroom, or fix food."

And as busy as it's been so far, these first responders say the biggest rush is still ahead.

Hardin said, "Next two weeks in a row are going to be a little bit busier than this week. This week has been kinda mellow actually compared to what it has been."