Provena gives award to ambulance, SWAT teams

Saving lives is a daily routine for the members of Provena Covenant Center’s PRO Ambulance team working with the Metropolitan Emergency Tactical Response Operations SWAT team.

To recognize the group’s efforts in responding to high-risk situations, the Provena Covenant Medical Center presented the emergency responders with the Guardian Angel award on Friday.

The METRO SWAT team unit consists of police officers from the University, Urbana, Mahomet, Parkland College and Rantoul police departments, as well as the Champaign County sheriff’s office.

This special unit handles situations such as hostage crises, barricaded armed subjects and high-risk search warrants. But when they’re called to an emergency, paramedics from PRO Ambulance have to be on site to make sure the victims of the crime are transported safely to the hospital.

Patrick Connolly, Urbana police chief, said the PRO ambulance center work closely with the SWAT team on two seperate tasks.

“First, they stage an ambulance for us in the event when the police officer gets shot or injured,” Connolly said. “In addition to that, they also, on a voluntary basis, provide expertise with paramedics who are actually part of our team.”

The paramedics of the unit were invited to Friday’s ceremony to recognize their accomplishments.

Tim Compton, director of the PRO Ambulance Service Team, said his team successfully handled dangerous situations with the SWAT team.

“It was actually very seamless. (The SWAT team) gives us a call, they let us know where they want us staged, we send the unit right away,” Compton said.

“(We) dispatch them by radio and we have them staged and they communicate directly with the ambulance.”

At the event, Connolly spoke of the paramedics’ value to the SWAT team.

Jim Lievano, a paramedic with the PRO Ambulance Team, said he felt proud being part of the team recognized by the award ceremony.

“I think through the years, we have proven ourselves as being one of the most professional ambulance services not just in the state of Illinois but maybe in the country,” Lievano said. “For those of us that are standby with the SWAT teams, it is an amazing opportunity to just be able to mingle with two different disciplines of emergency services and law enforcement.”

_Carina can be reached at [email protected]_