Before 1986 in Thessaloniki there were two independent organizations responsible for the transportation of casualties to city hospitals: the local section of Red-Cross as well as the Institution of Social Security. Functioning independently they had two different telephone numbers for the public. There were 7 ambulances on duty in the morning, 5 in the afternoon and 3 during the night. Their equipment was limited (only a simple stretcher, an arm-chair and oxygen supply).The ambulances were served by two a mbulancemen, without any training, except the driver license. The ambulances were gathered all together at a central point of the city.
Since 1986, when EKAB2 started having today’s organization, we grew up the number of ambulances to 25 in the morning, 25 in the afternoon and 10 at the night. We dispatch our ambulances by creating many stations in the urban area, not more than 1000 meters the one of the other. The number of our personnel (ambulancemen, ambulancewomen) grew up to 172. We adopted the nationwide number 166 and we expanded the equipment of the ambulances.
The organization of our center resembles at to basic lines, to that of the most systems applied around the world. We have a total free nationwide, regionalized for the Thessaloniki area number (dialing 166). The call from the switchboard operator is directed to the medical dispatcher who is responsible to gather all the necessary information and decide of what to do. The information passes to the radio dispatcher who is transmitting it accordingly either to a conventional ambulance or the Mobile Intensive Care (MICU) or both if the conventional ambulance is nearest to the scene. The ambulance reaches to the scene and after evaluation and/or stabilization of the patient transport him to the indicated be the radio dispatcher hospital.
We dispose four types of vehicles:
a) Sanitary (for transportation of chronically ill) - 10 vehicles in use
b) Conventional - 30 vehicles in use
c) Mobile Intensive Care Units - 4 vehicles in use
d) Doctor’s vehicle - 2 vehicles in use
The conventional ambulances are equipped with 2 trained crew members. The team of a MICU includes a doctor (specialized physician usual anesthesiologist) and two specially trained crew members.
We have training programs divided to 3 stages. The number of teaching hours for each stage is 40 hours/year. All of them include BLS. For the MICUs personnel training also consists on evaluation of the patient, ALS, IV line techniques, defibrillation, intubation, control of external bleeding, transportation and life saving techniques in disasters. The personnel of the conventional ambulances is trained on evaluation of the critically ill patient, BLS, external control of bleeding, immobilization of fract ures, and transportation. Since 1994 four special emergency prehospital training centers for doctors are established in Greece. One of them is located in Thessaloniki. Training consists on 420 hours/year. After one year and upon examination a "CAPACITY in the EMERGENCY MEDICINE" diploma is obtained. In our future plans, starting in 1996, two professional schools for crew will be established (in Athens and Thessaloniki). The training period will be two years and the paramedics upon examination will be have the title of rescuer.
EKAB in Thessaloniki responds to more than
154,000 calls annually. The mean time between call and arrival was 7 minutes
for the conventional ambulance, while it was 8 minutes for the mobile unit,
and the duration of intervention was 6 minutes and 16 minutes respectively.