Our thanks to Suellen for the loan of this original press kit information....


The concept of Emergency Medicine originally came about when Doctor J.F. Pantridge realized a real need for emergency coronary care. In 1966 he formed a group of trained men known as the Flying Emergency Coronary Unit in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Because of his success, his program was adopted by St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City and the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida in 1967.

The program was made possible in Los Angeles County by state passing of the Wedworth-Townsend Act, which delegated power and authority to the County to initiate it's paramedic program. It was decided that this program would most feasibly fall under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Kenneth Hahn was the impetus of this legislation and has taken a continued active interest in the paramedic program and it's growth.

The first Los Angeles County Paramedic Class was held at Harbor General Hospital in September of 1969. This class consisted of six men and by December of that same year these six men graduated and comprised the first fully operational paramedic squad. However, a precaution was taken with this first crew. A trained R.N. accompanied the paramedics on their rescues.

By March of 1970 we had three operational squads, and by June of 1970 we had gained a total of five operational squads. 

Growth has been comparatively slow in terms of needs, and too, even though the program was basically designed for the emergency treatment of the coronary victim, our men have saved hundreds of lives who have been victimized by a multitude of other sources.

The television show EMERGENCY! premiered on January 15, 1972 and created a nationwide awareness for the need of emergency medicine programs in every community, and the response to this awareness has accelerated the growth of paramedic programs on a nationwide level.

Presently, over 15 states have adopted the Los Angeles County Paramedic Training Program. As of February 1, 1974, Los Angeles County has fifty-one operational squads manned by 406 certified paramedics. 

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