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New Orleans paramedics respond to more than 3,000 calls in 12 days over Carnival season

New Orleans paramedics responded to 3,057 calls in a 12 day period, including 409 on Mardi Gras Day
Credit: WWL-TV

NEW ORLEANS — During the 12 days from Feb. 14 to Feb. 25, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services responded to 3,057 calls for help — last year during the same time paramedics responded to 3,000 calls.

The numbers of calls for paramedics come from a statement released Friday by New Orleans EMS. The release said the number was from both normal calls and parade-related incidents.

The statement acknowledges tragic events this Carnival season, a reference to the deaths of Geraldine Carmouche and Joseph Sampson, who were both killed by accidents involving Mardi Gras parade floats.

New Orleans Fire Department firefighters were boycotting voluntary overtime that the city relied on to fully staff fire stations and trucks over the Carnival season, but according to EMS Public Information Officer Jonothan Fourcade, NOFD always responded when they were needed.

In those 12 days, from Feb. 14 to Feb. 25, NOFD responded to 320 fire calls and 209 medical calls, NOFD Public Information Officer Greg Davis said. 

NOFD typically responds alongside EMS to critical calls, like heart attacks, signs of a stroke, chest pains and shortness of breath, EMS Public Information Officer Jonothan Fourcade said.

"Firefighters are trained in CPR, first aid and (automated external defibrillators)," Fourcade said. "They responded to every critical call during Mardi Gras."

The director of New Orleans EMS, Dr. Emily Nichols, said she was proud of how EMS staff handled the Mardi Gras Season.

"EMS call volume more than doubles on Mardi Gras Day and our crews do an outstanding job responding to those emergencies,” Nichols said.

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On Mardi Gras Day, paramedics responded to 409 calls this year, 54 more calls than in 2019.

The Krewes of Muses, the Knights of Babylon and the Krewe of Chaos were scheduled to roll Feb. 20, but high winds and other weather factors made New Orleans officials reschedule those parades — and despite this, EMS had almost the same number of calls that day as last year's Muses Thursday

Without any parades rolling Thursday, EMS saw 194 calls. Last year, there were 196 on Muses Thursday. 

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First aid stations provided by EMS with its partners — the New Orleans Health Department and the American Red Cross — helped 783 people, cared for 110 patients with minor injuries and transported 36 patients to the hospital.

Bill Salmeron, the chief of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, recognized the people working to get patients the care they need.

“We acknowledge the hard-working men and women of New Orleans EMS who work long hours in sometimes risky conditions to provide some of the best prehospital emergency care in the country,” Salmeron said.

New Orleans EMS employs 156 healthcare providers who responded to 69,285 calls in 2019.

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