Prague’s EMS celebrates 160 years

The service is the oldest in Europe and is currently expanding

The Prague Emergency Medical Service (ZZSHMP) has roots that go back 160 years to Dec. 8, 1867. It began as the Prague Voluntary Protection Corps (PDSO). It is the oldest service of its kind in Europe.

Their mission for the original 36 members was to save both human lives and the property of fellow citizens voluntarily from every kind of danger, fearlessly and selflessly.

“Our permanent goal is to provide pre-hospital emergency care in the highest quality, in the shortest possible time, while at the same time maintaining our high-level crisis preparedness for high-casualty incidents. This is related to our strategy for further development, where we plan to expand the number of outbound bases, increase the number of medical staff, provide continuous professional training, and continuously upgrade the fleet and technology,” ZZSHMP director Petr Kolouch said in a press release.

The rescue service now has 20 outposts in the capital. In the following year, it plans to open another one in Průběžná street in Prague 10. By 2021, there should be the 25.

Prague’s emergency service vehicles travel 2.5 million kilometers per year and they are continuously replaced Every year, the service should buy 15 new ambulances.

“In 2021, the ZZSHMP should have 80 modern ambulances that won’t be over 6 years old or have more than 300,000 kilometers,” Kolouch said.

This year, the rescue service started migrating to electronic health documentation (EZD). Medical staff will record details directly on a tablet instead of paper, and eliminate the need to write the data twice.

“EZD will, above all, relieve field crews from administrative work and streamline the whole process of medical record management,” Kolouch said.

In the second half of 2018, the ZZSHMP should begin moving into its new residence in the new building called Nová Palmovka in Prague 8. The service for the past two decades has been in rented premises in Korunní Street.

"The new office will finally allow us to move the administrative and technological workplaces together with the training center,” Kolouch said.

Rescuers and physicians of the ZZSHMP carry out more than 120,000 visits per year and treat 112,000 patients. Operators receive around 600 calls per day on emergency lines. In cases of the highest urgency, crews arrive within 8 minutes, and in 95 percent of cases, they arrive at the patient within 15 minutes. Some 60 children are delivered annually according to instructions by telephone or by crews.

Most patients were handed over to Bulovka Hospital (23,525) last year, followed by FN Královské Vinohrady (21,080) and FN Motol (17,086).

Some 24 percent were accident cases last year, 69 percent were due to disease, and 7 percent had different causes. The crews handed 5,638 patients to intensive care units.

Doctors, drivers, and rescuers spend 121,000 hours a year on calls.

Most calls take place on Monday, the busiest time is between 9 am and noon, with almost twice as many events as average. The weekend peak is between 6 pm and 9 pm.

The busiest time is usually night on New Year's Eve, the busiest calendar day is Jan. 1, the month with the highest number of emergency calls received is December.

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