West County EMS and Fire wants residents to be READY in case of a medical emergency

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - A new program is available to some west St. Louis County residents that could save time and money during a medical emergency.

Recently, Manchester resident Woody Bassman woke during the night and headed down the hallway. Bassman said he could barely stand and had a "horrible roaring sound" in his head. He knew he needed help and called 911.

Bassman had previously registered with West County EMS and Fire through its Rapid Emergency Assisting Documents for Your health (READY) Program. As a result, paramedics were able to get into Bassman’s home quickly and without having to break down the door in the process.

Once Bassman registered, a representative from the fire district came out to his home and installed a secure lock box outside the door. Bassman chose a four-digit passcode that was given to the West County EMS and Fire dispatch center.

When paramedics arrived at Bassman's home, a dispatcher was able to provide them with Bassman's lockbox passcode. They were able to retrieve the key to his front door allowing them to get inside his home quickly.

While part of the team tended to Bassman, one paramedic went to the refrigerator to locate a large magnet provided by the fire district as part of the program. On the back of the magnet is where the resident writes down where their important medical documents can be found.

The documents are provided by the department and are to be kept in a district-issued folder. They contain medical information like blood type, allergies, medications, emergency contact, and power of attorney.

The paramedics bring the folder of documents with them and give them to the hospital. Bassman said it was comforting to know the information was all there, and he did not have to worry about remembering those details during his medical crisis.

“Once at the hospital and in the ER I heard one of the nurses on duty say to the doctors, ‘He has wonderful information in this brochure,’” Bassman said.

The program is targeted towards the elderly, but White said anyone with a medical concern is welcome to register.

“Especially if you live alone," said White. "If you live alone, you never know when you could fall and injure yourself where you can’t get to the door.”

Bassman is now sharing his experience with his neighbors and encouraging them to register as well.

The READY Program is available to residents in West County who are serviced by West County EMS and Fire. To register, call 636-256-2009. There is a one-time $30 fee to cover the cost of the lockbox.