As most of us know, asthma affects many Americans. A recent survey indicated that approximately 10 million asthmatics live in the United States alone. This survey, conducted by the New York City Fire Department, alarmed the members and the Board of Directors of Brooklyn College’s Emergency Medical Squad (BC-EMS). After reading this survey, BC-EMS reviewed its records and came to the realization that a fair percentage of their calls were asthmatic patients. Brooklyn College’s campus serves as a large inner city community, and the number of asthmatics in urban setting is greater than in other areas. Brooklyn College’s Emergency Medical Squad has since implemented a program that allowed its Basic Life Support (BLS) units to administer Albuterol. All BC-EMS members who are currently Emergency Medical Technicians are obligated to attend classes to learn this life saving skill. Furthermore, if any questions arise, the squad now has direct online medical control if there is a need to call for assistance. “Since we have implemented the administration of Albutorol, we have helped many students,” said Crew Chief Joseph Krivoruk. Before the implementation of this new program, BC-EMS would call for advanced life support for every asthma patient, which forced the patient to wait several minutes before being treated.
The administration of albuterol by BLS units is becoming a widespread phenomenon, especially in New York City. While the Fire Department EMS has been providing this treatment for a while, it is a newer occurrence within the volunteer system and one that many find highly beneficial. One member, an asthmatic herself, sings the praises of the now-required training. “My asthma’s gotten a little worse recently, but I’m just glad that the ‘guys’ [EMS members] could be there to help me when I really needed it most.”