NEW ORLEANS — Amid the bead tossing and celebration of the annual Mardi Gras parade Tuesday, bystanders quickly went to the aid of a heart attack victim.

“People started CPR right away on the woman. Our paramedic also was nearby as well,” said Jeb Tate, New Orleans EMS public information officer.

“They got the pulse back on the 42-year-old woman,” Tate said, adding he was impressed by the citizens’ actions.

During the 10-day celebration, New Orleans EMS personnel responded to a record 2,067 calls for service and transported more than 1,200 people to the hospital.

Tate said on Mardi Gras Day alone, Tues., March 8, there were 344 requests for ambulances. Medics transported 177 patients.

This year there were 236 more calls for service, and 140 more transports than during the 2010 celebrations.

“This was the busiest year since we’ve been keeping records in 2006,” he said.

With New Orleans jammed with revelers, EMS personnel ride bikes and ATVs to get around. They are strategically positioned in various areas of the city.

Tate added that the Red Cross also assists by staffing aid stations where personnel treat minor injuries.

NO EMS Director Dr. Jeffrey Elder said in a prepared statement:

“As the 2011 Carnival season ends, I am extremely grateful for the men and women of New Orleans EMS who worked long hours fulfilling our mission of providing high quality pre-hospital medical care to the citizens and visitors of New Orleans.”

Early Wednesday, New Orleans was hit by powerful thunderstorms that caused EMS personnel to detour around certain areas.

Taking detours and adapting are something to which they’ve become accustomed. Since Hurricane Katrina, NO EMS personnel have operated out of two trailers.

“They [the trailers] are falling apart. They’re in bad shape,” Tate said.

Plans are still in the works to establish a headquarters for EMS that will include locker and shower rooms as well as offices and classrooms.

Tate says the plans call for EMS to be located with the coroner’s office

New Orleans Responders Recovering

Crews cared for more than a million visitors almost nonstop for more than a month.

By Susan Nicol – News
Posted: Thu, 02/18/2010 – 04:34pm
Updated: Fri, 02/19/2010 – 02:44pm

NEW ORLEANS, La. — The party is finally over here.

New Orleans’ EMS crews are getting a breather after caring for more than a million visitors almost nonstop for more than a month.

The celebrations got underway with New Year’s Eve, followed by the Sugar Bowl the next day.

Then came the NFL playoff games, the start of Carnival, the Super Bowl victory and Saints’ parade, and the remainder of Mardi Gras.

What started in 2009 came to an end at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, leaving crews pretty exhausted, said Jeb Tate, a paramedic and NOEMS spokesman.

Tate said having the Super Bowl celebration smack in the middle of Mardi Gras added some challenges. But, crews adapted.

“There was a whole different atmosphere at the Mardi Gras this year,” he said. “Everyone’s been saying it was because people were still happy about the Super Bowl win.”

Tate said there was a sharp drop in violence calls this year.

Statistics showed during the 11-day Mardi Gras celebration, crews handled 1,920 calls, and made 1,174 transports.

The busiest day was Tuesday with 265 calls with 139 transported to local emergency departments, Tate said.

“We handled 120 more calls, and made 170 more transports this year,” he said.

Mardi Gras, personnel handled 120 fewer calls and crews handled everything from intoxicated partiers to falls and a cardiac arrest.

The Red Cross set up first aid stations along the parade routes to handle minor issues, and East Jefferson Hospital provided an EMS crew to assist on the two busiest days.

EMS Director Dr. Jullette Saussy was pleased with the effort of the 116 New Orleans personnel — all of whom have been on duty during the parties.

“As Mardi Gras comes to a close, New Orleans EMS, while busy, recognizes that our carnival season was a success. Despite the cold temperatures, we enjoyed several sunny, clear days. Every member of New Orleans EMS, administration, field and communications, made this two-week party possible each day,” she said in a prepared statement.

“Additionally the American Red Cross and EJGH EMS collaborated to assure adequate citywide coverage. For that, and the superior care our medical team delivered, I am truly proud and deeply thankful,” Dr. Saussy said.

Tate said crews will be able to take a bit of a breather before gearing up for the Mardi Gras Marathon set for Feb. 28.

“We’re expecting about 30,000 or so,” he said with a laugh, adding that the number is small compared to earlier crowds recently. “Whatever, we’ll be ready…”