From its humble start in 1991, Advanced Medical Transport has grown to become an indispensible life-saving business to central Illinois and Iowa, providing defi brillators, and training citizens throughout the community.
Saving lives is a community effort.
But faster than any fire truck, police or ambulance is a trained citizen with an AED, or automated external defibrillator, says Andrew Rand, executive director and CEO of Advanced Medical Transport.
“We at AMT are not going to save as many lives as we can save together with the entire community—that’s why it’s called public access defibrillation,” Rand says. “It’s zero-response time.”
In 2002, AMT’s board of directors agreed to invest in a CardioReviver defibrillator program. The goal was to donate AEDs and training to be placed in a variety of venues in which large numbers of people gather—from athletic facilities, schools, parks and community centers to business offices, airports and churches, says AMT’s community relations coordinator Sharon Kennedy.
And just as operations have grown—in its first year of operations in Peoria, AMT logged 7,500 calls, and today, 40,000 service requests are reported annually in Illinois and Iowa—so too, has the CardioReviver program. As of April 16, 2012, 516 of these life-saving devices have been placed in the community through AMT’s efforts. And since this free program began a decade ago, more than 17,000 individuals have been trained to use AEDs.
Training to Save Lives
Denise Durrell gave up her career crunching numbers as an accountant about six years ago to save lives as a nurse. Part of that change included her getting involved as an instructor for AMT’s CardioReviver Program. Her previous employer and church both benefited from AMT’s AED grant program, and she decided to become an instructor to help train others how to use the devices.
“AEDs are simple enough to use by anyone who completes the short training course,” says CardioReviver coordinator Sandy Randall. “The machine is very user-friendly for the layperson. It guides you through the whole process with voice commands. Our classes provide complete hands-on training. Once an individual sees the machine and completes the training, the notion isn’t as scary to them.”
The American Heart Association estimates widespread use of AEDs can save tens of thousands of lives each year in the U.S. alone. For every minute that passes without defibrillation, a victim’s chances of survival decrease by up to 10 percent, and after 10 minutes, very few resuscitation attempts are successful, according to the AHA.
Traditionally, the ability to defibrillate was only available to emergency medical personnel. But now, non-medical personnel such as police, fire service, security guards, teachers and other trained citizens can use AEDs.
Illinois has been a leader nationwide in promoting public AED use, and AMT continues to pave the way for public accessibility of the life-saving devices. AMT includes defibrillator training with its free, four-hour CPR classes which provide two-year certification through the American Heart Association. AMT also underwrites instructor fees, class supplies, AED trainers, educational materials and other associated costs.
“This class teaches you to help save someone’s life,” Kennedy says. “Not everyone lives within five minutes of emergency medical personnel. Hopefully, none of them will have to use it, but if they do, they will have the knowledge and confidence to do it.”
Culture and History of Care
Illinois’ only nationally accredited ambulance provider, AMT burst forth from its humble beginnings in 1991. Created and organized for the community by Peoria’s three major hospitals, AMT is the region’s leading provider of paramedics and specialized ambulance services.
Following a vision of establishing a modern, high-performance emergency ambulance service, AMT is committed to high-quality, non-tax-subsidized programs and services. It’s a community-based, not-for-profit organization governed by a local board of healthcare, business and community leaders.
“Our business is to save lives and to provide access to emergency, scheduled and regional ambulance transportation. As an Illinois notfor- profit, AMT is committed to serving the needs of the community regardless of someone’s ability to pay for their care,” Rand explains. “We are going to take care of our community’s diverse needs for access to medical care and transportation.”
AMT recently underwent a $2.5 million expansion and modernization to accommodate the growing enterprise, which includes a state-of-the art communication center, additional office space and more room for training purposes in a training facility now open to the public. The call center is based in a reinforced, tornado-safe room designed to provide constant, uninterrupted communications for all of AMT’s companies.
AMT boasts a total workforce of nearly 300 and a fleet of 40 ambulances. The latest technology includes computer-assisted dispatch, leading-edge cardiac care and medical equipment, vehicle location systems, advanced telecommunications, and computer documentation systems.
For the communities it serves, AMT provides more than $1.75 million in charitable care. The organization staffs Rivermedic 1, an emergency paramedic rescue boat on the Illinois River, and provides medics on bikes at community events. It also partners with Safe Kids USA Coalition to help provide the largest child-seat safety inspection program in the community.
Other community-based activities include anti-drunk driving education at local public schools, and Andy, the ambulance robotic program which promotes safety to children, as well as bicycle helmet and life jacket giveaways.
“AMT’s involvement extends to all layers of the communities we serve,” says Rand. “Because being a good business and neighbor isn’t just about providing good, consistent and reliable service; it’s about extending our reach to as many individuals as possible through as many means as possible. Saving lives…is what we do.”iBi