When Cypress Creek EMS (CCEMS) was first established in 1975, the region’s main thoroughfare, FM 1960, was a poorly maintained, two-lane asphalt road, offering mostly four-way stop signs at its few major intersections. The nearest strip shopping center was miles away and there were no malls nearby. To dine in a fine restaurant, residents drove twenty miles or so into Houston. However, the area was blessed with a promising new medical facility, the Houston Northwest Medical Center, which had opened its doors in 1973. The founding physicians were convinced that the area, which at the time had no local health facilities, offered tremendous growth potential. They were correct. Their foresight offered a growing population what soon became a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, and diagnostic imaging services close to home…and set the stage for CCEMS.
As is frequently the case, a personal tragedy provided the impetus for action. A dedicated husband and community leader lost his life to heart failure because there was no emergency medical team to come to his aid. After anxious neighbors called for help, they waited in vain while their loved one died in the arms of his wife…a needless death that instigated support, first by his neighbors, then in his subdivision, and finally, throughout the community.
Convinced that such misfortune could be avoided by prompt treatment, a group of concerned friends and neighbors banded together and took action. In July 1975, their incalculable hours of planning finally culminated in the founding of CCEMS, an organization which became dedicated to providing 24-hour skilled emergency medical care to the FM 1960 community. The organizers staffed its single ambulance with volunteers…in the beginning, mostly themselves. Notably – to this day – volunteers are an important and essential portion of the organization.
Since its founding, CCEMS has saved countless lives and promoted more rapid recoveries with quality emergency care, making our area a safer place to live. Not surprisingly, the delivery of emergency medical services has become much more complex than the original organizers could have imagined. Still, these pioneer forward-thinkers and their surrogates have been quick to revamp and broaden CCEMS’s mission, upgrading its role when needed to meet the challenges of a burgeoning population on the northern periphery of Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city.
As predicted by the Northwest Medical Center founders, Northwest Harris County, the sprawling, unincorporated area served by CCEMS, has experienced explosive growth.
“Our service area has a sprawling population comparable (in size) to cities like Baltimore or Philadelphia,” CCEMS Executive Director, Brad England notes.
Without the existence of a municipal government to plan, fund and deliver critical emergency services to a large and growing population, local residents had to depend on their own organizational designs to provide fire protection, emergency medical services, and law enforcement; thus, early corporate leaders who commuted into Houston by day found themselves donating precious “family-time” evenings to the intricacies of governing subdivisions and solving neighborhood problems.
The read more about the history of Cypress Creek EMS click here.
Residents in North Harris County are fortunate that world-class medical facilities are conveniently located nearby…pediatric, orthopedic, neurologic, cardiac, and cancer treatment facilities are scattered across the FM 1960 area. Citizens of these same neighborhoods, when experiencing their own medical emergencies, should not overlook – in fact, should take great comfort in – a most critical component of their community’s medical care for which they need no formal appointment!
When personally confronted with an unnerving emergency, you can grab the phone, dial 911, and hear a soothing voice that prompts an explanation of your crisis. This should immediately reassure you that the responders are highly-trained, confident, well-equipped and will soon appear on the scene. As your frantic call for help is being routed through the Cypress Creek EMS Communications Center, you can rest assured that it is being dispatched to local and highly competent nationally recognized responders…your very own Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Service (CCEMS)!
Cypress Creek is a model for EMS operations throughout the country. Many emergency service providers have adopted the progressive procedures and innovative medical protocols pioneered by CCEMS. The 501(c)(3) organization has been recognized at the local, state and national levels for management excellence. For example:
In 1985, CCEMS was named the Best Advanced Life Support System in Texas.
One year later, the organization was recognized as the Paramedic Emergency Medical Service of the Year for the United States. In a single decade, the organization had earned a national reputation for excellence in emergency care.
In 1995, CCEMS received the Houston Northwest Chamber’s “Dr. Roberson Excellence in Heath Care Award.”
In 2006, CCEMS pioneered the Houston area’s first STEMI (Severe Heart Attack) Protocols, allowing Paramedics to bypass the Emergency Room and take patients straight to the Heart Catherization Lab. Many EMS systems in Texas and around the country would follow our lead.
In 2007, CCEMS was one of the first four EMS systems in the country to deploy the Lucas Automatic CPR Device, which is standard equipment today in most EMS systems.
In 2012, an independent panel of judges selected Cypress Creek EMS as one of the Principal Financial Group’s 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security. CCEMS earned this national recognition by linking employee health to long-term financial security…through an expansion of benefits that not only helps retain first-rate employees and but keeps them physically and financially fit.
In August 2016, CCEMS became the first ground EMS system in the country to transfuse packed red blood cells and fresh plasma in the field. One Fire/EMS department, ESD 48 in west Harris County, is a partner in the same blood program.