EMS World

MAR 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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16 MARCH 2018 | EMSWORLD.com O n Dec. 8, 1881, the famous Vienna Ringtheater burned down completely, killing more than 400. Only one day later the Volunteer Vienna Rescue Society was founded—it was the predecessor of today's Vienna Municipal Ambulance Service, MA70. This date marks the birth of EMS in Austria (although the Red Cross had already been established in Austria in March 1880, nearly 14 years after the Austrian monarchy joined the Geneva Conventions). Voluntarism was and still is a defining characteristic of EMS in Austria. The Vol- unteer Vienna Rescue Society recruited its members out of volunteer firefighter asso- ciations and rowing and gymnastic clubs. Education of the so-called "Samaritans" consisted mainly of lectures by surgeons. In spring 1883 the first ambulance sta- tions were installed in Vienna; from 1886 on stretchers were placed in public loca- tions throughout the city; and in June 1897 a new central rescue station was erected in the 3rd District that to this day remains the basis of the Vienna rescue service. In 1900 a wagon was equipped with eight stretchers and first aid material for emer- gencies on the Vienna city railway; apart from that, manpower and horse carts were used as transport. In 1905 the first ambu- lance car was stationed at the central res- cue station. Due to development of the city, more rescue stations were built, and mili- tary surgeons worked with the ambulance service as part of their medical training. Similar developments happened in other parts of Austria; in 1889 in Graz, for example, two physicians founded a medi- cal division within the city's fire brigade that developed into the so-called "medical corps," which still exists as part of the local Red Cross and consists of highly trained medical students (all volunteers). As local emergency transport divisions popped up within fire brigades all over the country, the Austrian Red Cross, Austrian Fire Fighters Association, and Ministry of War agreed on the use of the Red Cross sign as an identify- ing feature for these divisions. With the end of World War I, a period of both financial and political struggles began; money was tight, a lot of funding had been lost, and competencies for ambulance services were unclear. In the years leading up to World War II, and even more during the war, the Red Cross gradually took over emergency medical transport services from the firefighters. Today there is only one fire- fighter brigade left in Austria that provides EMS (in Admont, in the north of the state of Styria). Back in 1938 German surgeon Martin Kirschner postulated that the patient should not be brought to the doctor, but the doctor to the patient "because close to the event the danger to life is para- mount." Following this idea, Austria's first doctor-equipped ambulance was deployed in 1956 in Linz, as part of emergency ser- vices at the Voest Alpine Steel Factory. In the 1980s EMS organizations started to implement MICUs (mobile intensive care units with ambulance doctors), reaching almost nationwide coverage with one unit per county at the beginning of the 1990s. EMS Organizations Here is a list of the primary organizations pro- viding EMS in Austria. Red Cross—The Red Cross is not the only EMS organization in Austria, but it is by far the largest. The Austrian Red Cross, a member of the International Red Cross In this historical photo from about three decades ago, a horse-drawn ambulance carriage participates in a parade. (Photo: RK Lager, Moedling) Modern Changes Impact Austria's Historical Services Editor's note: This is the second in a new bimonthly column profiling EMS systems around the globe. The country's EMS dates to the 1880s but is being reshaped by current challenges By Susan Ottendorfer EMS AROUND THE WORLD

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