ABC7 rides along with a Prince George's EMS crew

Stepanie Buffum, Maryland Paramedic of the Year, checks an unconscious man in Prince George's County. Photo: ABC7

It's National EMS Week and ABC7's Ben Eisler got a rare look inside the life and work of an emergency medical services crew from one of the busiest stations in Prince George's County.

He rode along with paramedics Stephanie Buffum and Marcus Johnson. Buffum was recently honored as Maryland's Paramedic of the Year.

Just after 10 in the morning, the crew from Chillum Station responded to University Blvd. in Langley Park. They found a 38-year-old man, drunk and unconscious, in the street.

"We looked at him for any trauma," Buffum says. "There didn't appear to be any trauma, we did smell alcohol."

They rubbed his sternum to elicit a response and then loaded him into the ambulance, hooked him up to an IV for hydration and left for Washington Adventist Hospital.

The station handles numerous calls like this. If no one showed up, the man could have lost his life.

"Cardiac arrest, just because of dehydration, he could aspirate on his vomit," Buffum says.

Paramedics typically get 8-15 calls per shift.

"I treat these patients as I want my family to be treated," Buffum says. "I am a mom, and a wife."

Many of the medics work 24 hour shifts, and the calls cover a range of issues from people unconscious to folks with trouble breathing.

"It's an uncontrolled environment," Johnson says. "You could run who knows what type of call and you gotta be able to deal with it."

A 29-year-old woman possibly had a miscarriage.

"The main concern was her blood pressure seemed like she had bled out a good amount," says Johnson.

They got her to the hospital and she will be fine.

And they say cases like these, where they can help those in need, make them feel grateful for the opportunity.

"It's a great feeling to go home and say, you know, I actually served my community," Johnson says.