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Updated: 29 min 59 sec ago

3 Killed In Arkansas Medical Helicopter Crash

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 09:12

DEWITT, Ark. — Officials say a medical helicopter has crashed in rural Arkansas, killing all three people on board. 

The aircraft belongs to Pafford Medical Services, based in Hope, Ark. The three people aboard died when the helicopter crashed Sunday night near the town of DeWitt, about 60 miles southeast of Little Rock, officials said.

Dispatchers received a call just before 8 o’clock Sunday night after a resident witnessed the helicopter go down off of Highway 276, near a reservoir. The sheriff says the crash site was difficult to access.

Emergency crews got on scene to find the remains of three crew members and the helicopter engulfed in flames. Sheriff Wright says no patients were on board the Pafford EMS service aircraft.

Pafford released a statement saying, “Pafford is devastated by the the sudden loss of three of our team members.  At this time, we have no words, only prayers for the families and loved ones involved.”

FAA investigators are heading to the crash site, and the National Transportation Safety Board says it’s investigating.

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Video of Angry Driver Screaming at Paramedic Goes Viral

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:04
The driver called the female paramedic an “f—ing idiot” for not putting her hazard lights on.

CHESHIRE, England — A video of a man screaming obscenities at a paramedic for blocking a street is going viral on social media.

Daily Mail reported that the man is shown arguing with a female paramedic that she should have put signs out as drivers were unaware that the ambulance was in the way.

When the paramedic replies, “Well, open your eyes,” the man’s anger grows and he calls her an “f—ing idiot” for not putting her hazard lights on.

“Go do your f—-ing job properly,” the man adds before driving away.

“How do you find the words to comment on the actions of this individual when crews are treating someone who could have been in a life critical condition?” a North West Ambulance spokesperson said. “This man needs to ask himself how he would feel if it was his grandparent, mom, dad or child that we were treating, would he be happy that we waste precious time searching for a better parking space? Our staff work day and night to save lives, and do not deserve abuse from anyone for something as trivial as blocking a minor road.”

The video has been viewed over a million times on facebook.

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Air Evac Lifeteam Helicopter Crashes, 3 On Board

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 15:39
No patient on board at time of crash.

UNION CITY, Tenn. – An investigation is underway after an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter crashed in Union City, Tennessee.

The helicopter is based in Troy, Tennessee, and was reportedly on its way to pick up a patient.

Mayor Terry Hailey says the helicopter landed in the middle of town on Home Street around 11:30 a.m.

Hailey says the helicopter is still upright and intact.

Air Evac Lifeteam says there was no patient on board and the three crew members only suffered minor injuries.

Firefighter Rick Stacks for Union City Station 1 say the helicopter had an emergency over Harrison Street before landing on Home Street.

This is a developing story. More information will be published as it becomes available.

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Video: High School Football Team ‘Saves” Ambulance — Pushes it off field

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 06:24
A high school football team came to the rescue of an ambulance that wouldn’t start in the middle of their football field.

BEVERLY, Ohio — A high school football team worked together to push an ambulance that was stuck on the field during a game.

USA Today reported that the Northmor High School football team was playing against Fort Frye High School when Northmor quarterback Meechie Johnson was injured during a play.

The ambulance arrived on the field because it looked like he needed to be transported, but Johnson was then able to leave the field on his own. The ambulance, however, could not.

The Northmor team decided to help the ambulance out and bunched up against the back of it to push it off the field.

Lol so this happened at the Fort Frye game pic.twitter.com/sao54HQEIY

— Derek Layton (@ryanderek25) November 4, 2017

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‘Hero Pups’ Gives Back to Veterans, First Responders

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:24
Hero Pups, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization, places therapy dogs with veterans, firefighters, police officers and EMS providers.

STRATHAM, NH – a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization in New Hampshire, places therapy dogs with veterans, firefighters, police officers and EMS providers.

Laura Barker (not a typo), is the founder and president of Hero Pups, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization in New Hampshire, places therapy dogs with veterans, firefighters, police officers and EMS providers.

The organization has 30 active volunteers and they aim to keep their services roughly within a 100-mile radius of Stratham, New Hampshire.

The idea for the organization occurred in 2011 after Barker’s son was shot while in Afghanistan.

“When he came back, he was going through all these surgeries and you get to know all these other service members with combat injuries,” she said. “One day, someone walked into the hospital with a therapy dog and I watched how some of these guys reacted.”

It was an easy decision for Barker, who has a background in rescuing dogs.

“It was that perfect marriage. It was something I was passionate about – saving dogs – and then I saw these service members and how they reacted,” she said.

Hero Pups started placing dogs in 2012 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Helping Veterans and First Responders

During a ride along with a police officer, Barker realized that veterans and the nation’s first responders were facing similar issues.

“I didn’t want to just limit this to our veterans,” she said. “How they get to where they are might be a different path, but if they’re getting to that same space of anxiety, stress and depression then we have to include them.”

Barker didn’t have to think twice about adding first responders into the mix.

“Why not? It makes so much sense. They’re our heroes and we rely on them every single day. When they get off shift and go home, we don’t always know all the struggles they’re dealing with. There are a lot of difficult things that come with the job.”

By rescuing and saving a dog, Barker said they’re also saving and helping a hero.

“It’s just the perfect combination,” she said.

Right now, about 50 percent of the dogs that Hero Pups places go to first responders.

“There’s actually a lot of overlap,” Barker explained. “There’s a firefighter, who’s also a veteran, and some of his challenges may have started in the military, but they carried over to his firefighting job.”

Hero pups mainly trains rescues – with the rare dog from a breeder. The screening and profiling process is extensive, with intense aptitude testing. Barker already knows what she’s looking for in a dog and which dogs will make good candidates for her heroes.

“It’s not a guarantee, but we work with as many as we can and place as many as we can,” she said. “We always have a flunky or one that just doesn’t want to go into service work and is meant to be a pet. And that’s fine – it will be adopted by a family.”

Barker said she has a list of people – almost as long as those waiting for a fully trained therapy dog – that are just waiting for a flunky.

“We still saved the dog and somebody is going to get a great pet. And that’s awesome.”

And while some are thrilled with receiving a flunky, Barker’s main focus is training as many dogs as possible for every hero in need.

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Nightingale Helicopter Ambulance Celebrates 35 Years

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 14:55
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Nightingale helicopter ambulance team celebrates serving Hampton Roads for 35 years now. 

NORFOLK, VA – Nightingale Helicopter Ambulance service celebrates 35 years of serving Hampton Roads and surrounding areas.

Since 1982, Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance has flown more than 20,000 accident-free missions out of Sentara Norfolk General. This year, the air helicopter marks 35 years of service in a region that includes Hampton Roads, the Northern Neck and parts of northern North Carolina. Nightingale completed 740 flights in 2016, flight records show — more than two a day.

Nightingale’s team consists of 29 people — pilots, paramedics, nurses and mechanics as well as dispatchers who act as the helicopter’s guardian angels, watching its flight from the hospital to its destination and back, and checking the crew’s progress every 15 minutes.

“When I started, it was almost exclusively trauma. Now, we do a lot more, like heart attacks, strokes,” said 28-year Nightingale veteran flight paramedic Chet Flemming “We help put people in front of doctors faster.”

Four helicopters have been used as the Nightingale helicopter ambulance over the years. The newest one, a Eurocopter model, went online in 2011. The previous Nightingale is stored in a nearby hanger and used as a back-up when the new one requires maintenance. Each flight crew has a pilot, nurse and paramedic.

More information about this story is available here.

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Powerful Video Exposes Reality of First Responder PTSD

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 07:31
Healing our own: the reality of post-traumatic stress.

WEB – This very powerful video offers an overview of firefighter post-traumatic stress and its sometimes devastating impacts, as well as efforts under way to help build a path toward healing for first responders.

The opening segment alone is worth a look as it features a former Granite Mountain Hotshot who suffered with survivor’s guilt and nearly committed suicide after the Yarnell Hill fire killed 13 of his brothers in 2013.

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Couple Relives Horrible Crash to Help Wisconsin First Responders

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 18:28
Amy Silverman made an emotional revelation Thursday to the two Gundersen MedLink Air rescuers who saved her life.

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin – Amy Silverman and her boyfriend, Rick Borden, re-lived a horrific motorcycle crash to help local first responders improve trauma care.

Amy Silverman made an emotional revelation Thursday to the two Gundersen MedLink Air rescuers who saved her life when they tended to her broken, mangled and bleeding body in a ditch nearly 13 months ago.

Silverman choked back tears as she confided her secret to Mike Ashbacher and Tony Hovey during a review of the crash on Oct. 9, 2016. She and her boyfriend, Rick Gordon, lost their left legs below their knees after a car slammed into the Harley-Davidson motorcycle they were riding. They were thrown, like two rag dolls, into a ditch.

“Something you guys don’t know,” Silverman said, her voice shaking, “I thank God every day for taking my leg and not my life. When it’s late at night, and I realized I haven’t thanked God, I do it then.”

Touched by the emotion, flight nurse Hovey said, “This is making a positive impact,” reflecting the fact that they all are moving forward with a resolve to turn what had been a gruesome tragedy into lessons for others.

The Northbrook, Ill., high school special education teacher and mother of two agreed with that assessment during the often-difficult-to-watch presentation that flight nurse Hovey and flight paramedic Ashbacher pulled together.

They developed the presentation for a symposium Friday at Gundersen to show first responders and other trauma care specialists that all elements of a hospital system must be in sync to save lives in otherwise horrific situations.

Read more about this story here.

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27 Dead, More than Two Dozen Injured in Texas Church Shooting

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:25
At least 27 people were killed and around 27 injured in a Texas church shooting Sunday morning, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – At least 27 people were killed and around two dozen were injured in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, about 40 miles Southeast of San Antonio.

The alleged shooter is dead, and it appears there is no longer an active threat at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 40 miles southeast of San Antonio, police told ABC News.

A person who said she works at a gas station across the street from the church told ABC News she heard rapid gunfire at around 11:15 a.m., leading congregants from the church as well as customers at the station to run inside for cover.

“We heard several shots and we all started running inside the store,” she said.

“It lasted about 15 seconds. I yelled, ‘Get down! Get inside!’ and we all went into hiding,” said the woman, who said she is 49 but declined to give her name.

She said the gas station locked its doors. “We have not reopened,” she said.

She then that within minutes of the gunfire, emergency personnel had arrived at the scene.

“There were officers that were checking the wounded in here were asking them questions,” she said.

The FBI and ATF were at the scene by Sunday afternoon, and at least six people from the church were taken to Connally Memorial Center in nearby Floresville for treatment.

14-Year Old Girl Among the Victims

One victim of the shooting is a 14-year-old girl, according to her father, Frank Pomeroy, who spoke by phone to confirms the death of his daughter in the shooting ABC’s Mike DelMoro – all on phone – not recorded. Do not have photo.

“Annabelle Renee Pomeroy was killed in their church, her father told ABC News’ Mike DelMoro.

She “was one very beautiful special child,” Pomeroy said.

The father said he was in Oklahoma on Sunday morning, a rare weekend that he wasn’t home, and was driving back Sunday afternoon.

All of those who died are friends, he said.

 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement, “The thoughts and prayers of all Texans are with the people of Sutherland Springs as tragic reports come out of First Baptist Church.”

“Please join Angela and me as we pray for those impacted by this horrific shooting,” Paxton said.

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Air Evac Lifeteam Signs 7-year Contract with Able Aerospace

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 11:39
Able Aerospace Services, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., has signed a seven-year contract extension with Air Evac Lifeteam, part of Air Medical Group Holdings.

MESA, AZ  — Air Evac Lifeteam signed a 7-year contract renewal agreement with Able Aerospace Services, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, Inc.

The contract designates Able as the exclusive service provider for dynamic component repair and overhaul services for Air Evac Lifeteam’s fleet of 128 Bell Helicopter 206 aircraft.

“Able has enjoyed a positive and productive relationship with Air Evac for more than 15 years,” said Gabriel Massey, general manager for Able Aerospace Services.

“This renewal is a great confirmation of our past successes and the many opportunities we have ahead of us.”

The new contract extends a previous five-year contract naming Able as sole support for Air Evac’s Bell 206 fleet. During that five-year period, Able provided maintenance services on more than 7,000 components across every aircraft in Air Evac’s fleet.

Air Evac Lifeteam president Seth Myers is pleased with the contract extension.

“Able is a valued partner, helping us to provide access to people in need of a higher level of emergency health care,” Myers said. “This contract extension signifies our faith in Able and its highly qualified employees.”

“Air Evac is a prime example of how operators across the world can benefit from our relationship with Bell Helicopter,” added Massey. “As a Bell certified service center and a member of the Textron group of companies, we are part of a very a proactive network of Bell experts – all focused on providing support at every level of the customer experience, from day one that a new Bell helicopter is purchased through to the sundowning of a legacy aircraft.”

Operating from a 200,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, Able offers more than 10,000 FAA-approved repairs and overhauls, some of the world’s largest rotable exchange inventories, and in-house specialized services ranging from electroplating, chemical processing, and machining and grinding to NDT testing, hydraulics and bearings services. Together with a team of more than 400 mechanics, engineers and support teams, Able completes over 95 percent of all jobs on site.

In recent years, Able has expanded its support capabilities with the addition of the Able Maintenance Center (AMC), which provides comprehensive maintenance and avionics expertise, including flight-deck upgrades.

In March 2017, the AMC delivered its 100th state-of-the-art flight-deck upgrade for a mix of Air Evac Lifeteam’s Bell 206 and Bell 407 helicopters. The upgrade ensures that Air Evac is compliant with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 2017 Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) mandate for cockpit safety improvements, such as helicopter terrain and warning systems (HTAWS); automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B); and flight data monitoring systems (FDMS).

Air Evac Lifeteam also chose to add additional safety enhancements to its fleet that are not required by the FAA mandate, such as the Garmin 650/500 glass cockpit, HeliSAS autopilot system and electronic flight bags.

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Georgia Fire Department Fights to Take Over EMS Duties

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 09:28
Augusta Fire Chief Chris James tries to get rid of private EMS agency Gold Cross in a surprise presentation.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Augusta Fire Department’s push to replace Gold Cross as city ambulance provider advanced Thursday with an unannounced presentation by Commissioner Sammie Sias at a Region 6 EMS Council meeting in Washington, GA.

Augusta Fire Chief Chris James, who in August defeated Gold Cross CEO Vince Brogdon by a single vote to become chairman of the 13-county council, added the presentation to the agenda at the meeting’s end.

The regional councils recommend who gets to provide EMS service in Georgia counties, subject to approval by the Georgia Department of Public Health. In 2012, the council agreed to split what was a zone shared by Augusta and Gold Cross, and gave Gold Cross the zone, a decision the city fought in court until losing earlier this year.

After Augusta lost the zone, the city commission voted to reduce, then eliminate this year, what had been a $1.1 million EMS subsidy after Gold Cross refused to agree to the city’s contract terms. Gold Cross subsequently raised some of its charges, such as for calls that don’t result in a patient transport. Last week, Augusta told its firefighters not to assist the paid provider with lifting patients unless a life was at stake.

Augusta commissioners cited the unexpected charges’ impact on constituents when the commission voted unanimously last month to pursue the zone and Sias presented the request to the council.

“We feel, at this time, the economy, efficiency and benefit to the public welfare is falling short,” Sias said, using language from the council’s zone criteria.

James said he wanted to retain Warren County Commission Chairman and council member John Graham as chairman of the council zoning committee, which will examine the evidence in the zone decision and have an Augusta appointee on the committee.

At that point, Brogdon stood and announced his objection to the move, stating Gold Cross intends to work things out with Augusta.

“Gold Cross intends to collaborate with the city of Augusta through discussions, which we believe will resolve and satisfy any and all concerns of the city in regard to the 911 zone,” Brogdon said, asking to postpone the vote until the next quarterly council meeting. He would not elaborate on the discussions after the meeting.

James responded Gold Cross could present its objections at the committee or council meeting; Brogdon said not delaying the decision will impair discussions with Augusta. “Richmond County has made our decision,” Sias added. The debate continued on for several minutes. Both James and Brogdon brought their organization’s attorneys to the meeting.

Brogdon had six votes in support of delaying the action, including one from council Vice Chairwoman Jennifer Weeks. “This is not an item that was discussed ahead of time, nor was it on the agenda,” Weeks said.

Augusta Fire Department lacks the capacity to provide ambulance service to residents and creating the service would require millions in investment. If the government won the zone, the city could hire another provider. The council, which does not record the names of member votes, cast 13 votes in favor of moving forward with Augusta’s request.

Copyright 2017 The Augusta Chronicle

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Video: Man Steals Ambulance with Paramedic, Patient inside

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 05:36
The paramedic called 911 while in the back of the ambulance, saying she feared for the patient’s safety.

DAYTON, Ohio — Police dash cam footage shows a cruiser chasing an ambulance after a man stole it with a paramedic and patient still inside.

FOX45 reported that Jeffrey Brown stole the ambulance while a paramedic and patient were in the back and drove off with the lights flashing

The paramedic called 911 while in the back of the ambulance and expressed her fear.

“I’m just worried about them crashing the ambulance. I have a patient in the back with me,” the paramedic said.

Miami Herald reported that Brown was apprehended by police after a mile-and-a-half chase when a squad car sped in front of it and slowed down.

Brown was arrested and faces several charges, including kidnapping and grand theft auto.

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Stolen ambulance chase

WATCH: Dayton, Ohio man leads police on chase with stolen ambulance while a patient and a medic were inside!STORY: http://bit.ly/2gWDQ0q

Posted by LOCAL 12, WKRC-TV on Thursday, November 2, 2017

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6 Firefighters Fired After Hanging Noose on Lieutenant’s Family Photos

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 20:18
—City of Miami tells news media to stop showing photos of firefighters fired in incident.

MIAIMI  — Six firefighters were fired over an incident in which someone hung a noose over a black lieutenant’s family photos inside a fire station. The city of Miami is now demanding that the media stop showing their pictures.

City of Miami firefighters, from left top: William Bryson, Kevin Meizoso, and David Rivera; from bottom left: Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana, Alejandro Sese, were fired over an incident in which someone hung a noose over a black lieutenant’s family photos inside a fire station.

After releasing the pictures of six firefighters fired over an incident in which someone hung a noose over a black lieutenant’s family photos inside a fire station, the city of Miami is now demanding that the media stop showing their pictures.

Just after midnight Friday morning, an assistant city attorney wrote an email to multiple news outlets demanding that the media “cease and desist from further showing the firefighters pictures in your coverage of this event.” Jones said the photos of the six men had been released accidentally.

“As former first responders, their photos are confidential and exempt under Florida’s public disclosure law and should not have been released,” wrote Kevin R. Jones.

The email was sent to the Miami Herald, WFOR, WPLG and the Associated Press, among other media outlets. The Miami Herald has decided to leave the photos on its website.

A noose made of thin white rope was then hung over one of the photos. Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban has referred to the incident as “a hideous, distasteful act of hate.”

Robert S. Webster, the African-American firefighter and 17-year department veteran whose photos were defaced, told WPLG in an interview that his “first reaction was basically disbelief.”

“I knew it wasn’t a joke because of the progression of little things that were taking place,” said Lieutenant Robert Webster.

More information about this story is available here.

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It’s Official: LifeFlight Out, StatFlight In

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 15:46
— LifeFlight operated via the company Air Methods. StatFlight is a PHI Air Medical controlled flight program.

EVANSVILLE, IN  – St. Vincent Hospital is replacing their medical helicopter program, LifeFlight, with a new one called StatFlight.

The change means more than a new name.

StatFlight helicopters will have a new look and upgraded technology.

StatFlight operates under the PHI Air Medical helicopter umbrella of air medical services. Lifeflight was an Air Methods operated flight program.

It is expected that many personnel from the existing LifeFlight team will transition to the new staff.

StatFlight is the largest air medical provider in Indiana. St. Vincent operates 20 hospitals in the state.

Ascension’s St. Vincent announced in August of 2017, that effective Nov. 1, StatFlight, operated by PHI Air Medical, will become the largest air medical provider in Indiana with the addition of the program’s sixth base in Evansville.

The new St. Vincent StatFlight base will replace the existing St. Vincent LifeFlight program that has been in service for more than 35 years.

St. Vincent is part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.

St. Vincent says the StatFlight-branded Airbus EC 135 helicopter will be equipped with state-of-the-art, industry-leading technology and equipment such as night vision goggles, the Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System and autopilot. The helicopter will be capable of flying with Instrument Flight Rules technology in the coming months and its new base will carry life-saving blood products. The service will also be capable of transporting specialty patients that require an intra-aortic balloon pump or ventricular assist device.

“We are proud of our continued partnership with St. Vincent to help provide the citizens of Indiana with this critical, life-saving air medical service,” said Sean O’Neal, regional director for PHI Air Medical. “With this expansion in services, we look forward to serving the communities in central Indiana and now the Tri-State area in southern Indiana.”

St. Vincent partnered with PHI Air Medical in 2010 to form the St. Vincent StatFlight program, which is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems. Other locations for StatFlight include Anderson, Greencastle, West Lafayette, Rushville and Seymour.

Because of the outstanding clinical quality from the Evansville LifeFlight team, a St. Vincent media release said, many of these employees will transition to become St. Vincent StatFlight staff. It is expected that approximately 90 people, comprised of pilots, mechanics, nurses, paramedics and communication specialists across state will now be a part of St. Vincent StatFlight.

“We are grateful for the outstanding work that the LifeFlight program has provided to this community for the last 35 years,” said Dan Parod, president of St. Vincent, Southwest Region. “As we begin to take the next step in enhancing our air medical service we want the communities we serve to be assured that they will continue to have access to this vital service.”

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Video: FDNY EMT Sings National Anthem at NFL Game

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:33
The NFL First Responders Night included 150 responders holding the American flag while EMT Sarah McShane sang.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — An FDNY EMT kicked off Thursday’s NFL game by performing the national anthem.

As part of the NFL’s Salute to Service month, 150 first responders held the American flag before the game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. A moment of silence was held in the wake of Tuesday’s Manhattan attack that left eight people dead.

Following the moment of silence, FDNY EMT Sarah McShane sang the national anthem.

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Teen who Punched EMT in the Face is Arrested

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 06:55
Richard Fuentes, 17, punched a female EMT in the face while being transported to the hospital after being arrested for public intoxication.

WICHITA FALLS, Texas —A teen is in custody after allegedly punching a female EMT in the face.

News Channel 6 reported that police found Richard Fuentes passed out in a truck with his feet hanging out when they responded to an occupied vehicle check call.

Police said Fuentes’ eyes were bloodshot, they could smell alcohol on his breath and he was slurring his words. They arrested him for public intoxication, but had him transported to the hospital due to the level of intoxication they believed him to be under.

On the way to the hospital, Fuentes was not handcuffed and police said he became verbally aggressive to the EMT.

When they arrived at the hospital, Fuentes allegedly punched the EMT in her face and she fell back into the ambulance. Police took Fuentes to the ground and put him in handcuffs.

He was charged with assault on a public servant and public intoxication.

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Patient Attacks Paramedic, Hijacks Ambulance

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 10:02
Scott Marshall, a psychiatric patient, broke free of his restraints and attacked a paramedic before stealing the ambulance.

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — A psychiatric patient was charged with second degree robbery after hijacking an ambulance and attacking a paramedic.

WSAZ reported that two paramedics were transporting Scott Marshall to a hospital, and during the transport he called 911 and claimed that he was hallucinating and being kidnapped in the back of an ambulance.

Police said he then broke free of his restraints and attacked a female paramedic, punching her in the face and body.

The EMS provider who was driving exited the ambulance and opened the back doors to help, and Marshall slid into the driver’s seat.

Police said Marshall drove away with the female paramedic in the back of the ambulance with the doors open, and at one point stopped to let her out and called 911 again to say he had been kidnapped.

Deputies said they intercepted him and took him to the hospital, where he allegedly fought with six staff members and police officers.

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EMS Agency Fails to Act, Dropped from Contract

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 07:06
The Austin-Travis County EMS employment agreement will revert to state civil service rules after negotiations came to an impasse.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, the public organization that manages the county’s ambulances and medics, has lost its employment contract after negotiations with the city came to an impasse this week.

After representatives for the agency could not come to an agreement with Austin officials on issues such as compensation and credentialing, the employment rules for the organization will now instead be based on Texas local government code.

Austin interim City Manager Elaine Hart declined the EMS union’s request for a contract extension Monday, and the contract has since expired, city officials said. Even with a third-party mediator — which the Austin Police Department did not require for its own negotiations with the city, though the Austin Fire Department did — city officials and EMS union representatives couldn’t come to an agreement.

EMS representatives said the city gave up too early, but city officials said they felt it was futile to continue. The chairwoman of the city’s Public Safety Commission said she was disappointed by city officials’ decision to stop negotiating.

“In the short term, Austinites aren’t losing anything. EMS medics will continue giving care to citizens,” said Rebecca Webber, who heads the advisory group that issues public safety recommendations to the Austin City Council. “But as far as medics go, this is a big blow. The pay and the benefits issues are a big deal, and this will affect morale, which is already low.”

A major focus of the negotiations was compensation. The base pay for medics ranges from a minimum of $39,861 to a maximum of $70,587. While raise amounts were still under negotiation, there was a nearly $8 million difference in what EMS was seeking in its budget and what the city was seeking, said Larry Watts, with the city’s Labor Relations Department.

Anthony Marquardt, president of the Austin-Travis County EMS union, said medics feel undervalued in Austin compared with police and firefighters. Medics receive a 10 percent salary increase in their first three years in Austin, compared with the 24 percent and 29 percent increases that Austin police officers and firefighters receive, respectively. After 10 years, medics see a 35 percent rise in pay, while officers and firefighters receive a 42 percent increase.

Marquardt said he feels both sides could have come to an agreement eventually.

“I’m disappointed,” Marquardt said. “Our team made a sincere effort to engage in the process. … I think we weren’t far if we’d had a few more weeks.”

Watts said he thinks that’s unlikely. EMS representatives were focused on getting an extension Monday when city officials were far more intent on reaching a final agreement.

“Sometimes you reach a point where you just feel there is no progress being made, and yesterday was that day,” Watts told the American-Statesman on Tuesday.

Webber said the city manager’s office’s decision to find common ground with the city’s fire and police departments, but not with EMS, is insulting to the county’s medics.

“There has been a theme coming back to the Public Safety Commission about a real morale problem at EMS, and yet, employees continue to work hard, they continue to do a good job,” she said. “They always feel like they’re the third-most important (of the city’s three public safety agencies), and the city manager’s office, by doing this, has said, yes, that’s true.”

Watts said he disagrees with that characterization.

“We put proposals on the table to address nearly every single issue,” he said.

Additionally, EMS asked that the contract be changed so that it would only hire credentialed paramedics in the future, Marquardt said. Currently, the service is only required to hire emergency medical technicians, positions that require less training.

Paramedic training takes two years, while EMT training only takes a semester, he said. Personnel are required to be paramedics to qualify for certain promotions. Marquardt said he believes this change could have improved retention at Austin-Travis County EMS.

City officials argued that this was impractical because there is a shortage of credentialed paramedics in the industry, but EMS officials argued that they could attract the right applicants with the right compensation, Marquardt said.

Copyright 2017 Austin American-Statesman

First Responders Blame Insurance Companies for High Ambulance Costs

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 15:55
Complaints from patients prompted responders to discuss possible compromises with insurers in cases where they don’t cover the cost.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — EMS providers and insurers are batting over who is responsible for high transportation costs.

WGCU reported that EMS officials and insurers met with Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha’Ron James to discuss possible compromises in how to handle high ambulance charges. Each group blames the other for cases where the patient is left with charges that insurers don’t cover.

“It’s apparent that the insurer is not picking up their part of the bill,” Stuart Fire Chief David Dyal said. “Someone gets billed $936.50 — they’re paying $1,800 a month for insurance and the insurer wants to pay $84? That’s not even realistic.”

A “fix insurers favor” was proposed, which would prevent patients from picking up extra costs and force EMS providers and insurers to compromise on a price, according to WCTV

“You know, this is not a situation of egregious billing,” Wences Troncoso, with the Florida Association of Health Plans, said. “We believe it’s price gouging.”

Plant City Fire Chief Dan Azzariti said the plan would cut funding from Florida’s EMS providers, and added that Florida’s large visitor population puts more pressure on taxpayers.

“They don’t pay taxes,” he said, “So any offset in cost is shifted to those who do pay taxes.”

James said she may be forced to recommend legislative fixes if the two sides cannot come to a resolution.

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Lack of Volunteers Causes Fire Department to Cut Ambulance Service

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 06:32
Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department’s shrinking volunteer base is forcing the fire department to end ambulance service at the start of 2018.

JAMESTOWN, Pa. — With a shrinking base of volunteers, Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department won’t be providing ambulance service as of Jan. 1, 2018.

Emergency medical care will continue.

“It’s a manpower issue,” said Mike Cadman, who serves as the department’s emergency medical technician captain. “We’ll still have our QRS or quick response services—they’ll respond to stabilize a patient, but we just won’t be able to transport someone.”

Both Conneaut Lake Area Ambulance Service at Conneaut Lake and Life Force Ambulance Service Inc. at Greenville already serve the Jamestown area and those ambulance services will continue to do so, Cadman said.

Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department’s coverage area is about 56 square miles with West Shenango and South Shenango townships in Crawford County and the borough of Jamestown and Greene Township in Mercer County.

Jamestown is down to four qualified medical personnel, which isn’t enough staff for a volunteer ambulance service, Cadman said. Jamestown doesn’t have enough calls to warrant the staging of an ambulance from either CLAAS or Life Force in the Jamestown area, he said.

“We run about 300 to 350 EMS (emergency medical services) calls in a year, but they’re not all calls that require transportation,” Cadman said.

Cadman estimates about 60 percent of the department’s annual medical calls happen from April to October due to Pymatuning State Park, which attracts more than 3 million visitors a year.

While disappointing, the closure of Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department’s ambulance service isn’t a concern to Dan Bickel, superintendent of Pymatuning State Park.

“The key thing is they’ll still have QRS and they always provide good service to the park and those visiting our campgrounds,” Bickel said. “Conneaut Lake and Life Force are running the ambulances there now when needed. I don’t expect differences at all.”

Kevin Nicholson, director of Crawford County Department of Public Safety, said his only concern about the planned closure is getting the county’s computer aided dispatching system for 9-1-1 services updated.

Township governments in West Shenango and South Shenango townships were contacted earlier this month about what ambulances they want to respond within their respective municipalities, he said.

“There’s no deadline, but we want to do it as soon as possible before the end of the year because we have to update the CAD system with what ambulance responses where,” Nicholson said.

Each municipality in Pennsylvania is required to designate a primary emergency medical services and primary fire service for protection of its residents.

Jamestown isn’t unique to the region in having its volunteer ambulance service close down and switch over to QRS only.

Cambridge Area Volunteer Ambulance Service previously announced plans to close down as of Jan. 1, 2018, and switch over to QRS. The same thing happened in early 2016 with Cochranton Volunteer Ambulance Service.

Like other volunteer fire departments, Jamestown is trying to recruit new people, Cadman said.

The department holds its training sessions at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at its station at 208 Depot St.

“People always are welcome to come by and watch to see if they’re interested,” he said.

More information available here.

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