Ken Kelly, a 36-year veteran first responder with ProMed Ambulance, gave a presentation to the El Dorado Kiwanis Club on Wednesday.
ProMed has a corporate office in El Dorado and EMS stations in El Dorado, Smackover, Hampton, Fordyce, Pocahontas, Imboden and Hamburg.
As part of his presentation, Kelly gave several updates and what the past year has been like for the first responders.
“It has definitely been a challenge,” Kelly said. “Things we thought we were well prepared for we were not so well prepared for. We managed to pull up our bootstraps and get innovative in several things. We are now better prepared for the future.”
He gave specific details about the day to day operations of the ProMed team.
“In the heart of the pandemic, in April and May (of 2020), we were transporting patients from corner to corner of the state,” Kelly said. “We had patients in El Dorado going to Jonesboro. We had patients in Crossett going to Fort Smith. We even had to coordinate transporting patients out of state because it got to a point where some of the closest places with ventilators and treatment were out of state.”
Kelly also talked about the organization’s ability to keep up economically during what has been challenging times.
“We were really fortunate to receive some of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funding and some of the American Rescue Plan funding,” Kelly explained. “We did not experience a lot of the financial impact that a lot of systems around the state did. We were also fortunate enough to not have any layoffs.”
Because of all the attention needed to help with the pandemic, some of ProMed’s ongoing programs and partnerships saw a pause, including a partnership with the Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis provided ProMed with funding to train people in their Stop The Bleed (STB) program, which trains people on how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and act quickly and effectively to control the bleeding.
ProMed has now trained over 300 individuals in STB and have distributed over 85 STB kits to local first responders and law enforcement.
“Now that we’re coming out of the pandemic we are excited to be going back into the community to offer training in STB, CPR courses and first aid training,” Kelly said. “So anyone interested in the numerous training programs we offer, they should definitely give us a call.”
Kelly concluded his presentation by thanking the Kiwanis Club for their time and reiterating the community’s trust in first responders like ProMed.
“I want to say thank you to the community for putting your trust in us as your EMS provider,” Kelly said. “We’re excited about the community trust aspect of our work and we can only get better with community feedback.”