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Pittsburgh Paramedics Prove Their Skills Go Beyond The Ambulance

Paramedics and emergency medical technicians want Pittsburghers to know they do a lot more than ride around in an ambulance.

To show off what they do, local emergency responders displayed some of their equipment and services in Market Square Monday as a part of National EMS Week.

“A lot of times on major incidents ambulances come and go before there’s any attention,” said paramedic Crew Chief Jim Dlotowski. “A lot of paramedics live in the background, and even sometimes shy away from attention, but EMS week, that celebrates that career choice.”

In addition to responding to medical emergencies and accident scenes, Pittsburgh paramedics are also divers, cyclists and ride motorcycles for special response units.

With three rivers running through Pittsburgh, paramedic Crew Chief and instructor John Soderberg said river rescue is an important focus.

“It is part of our responsibility to train other paramedics to be public safety divers, to be able to dive into the rivers to do surface water rescue, to do subservice rescue, to also do boat operations,” Soderberg said.

He said for emergency situations at lakes, quarries or flood locations, when the unit is unable to use large boats, paramedics will bring in trucks with diving and boat repair equipment.

EMS also has a unit which includes responders on bikes and motorcycles who ride into situations with large crowds, such as concerts or sporting events, to determine the seriousness of an injury.

Other events during EMS Week include CPR demonstrations and a memorial to recognize paramedics who lost their lives in the line of duty.