To the Editor:
It has been since the Open House that I have written any update from the County EMS department. Although we have been quiet, it certainly has not been still around the EMS quarters. The department continues to grow and to become more founded. Our run volume continues to increase, the level of training continues to become more advanced, and of course as time passes, and calls are made, experience is gained, each call adding to the solidity of each clinician’s experience level.
As we approach our one year anniversary on April 15th, we express our appreciation to Steve Lyons, Mark Lohide and Josh South, the Commissioners during our first year of service and the amazing men that they are, putting a service like this into existence for the people in this county within a year.
We are also happy to have the guidance of Commissioner Jerry Monjar as our liaison to the Commissioners’ Board, starting in January of 2017. With his background in Management, Leadership, Fire, EMS and Police work, he has been so very helpful steering us into a solid Public Safety entity.
We appreciate Mark Reed and his co-workers in the County Health department, as we implement guidelines for the county in large scale health initiatives.
Our friend, Tom Moore, continues to assist through the EMA department with grants for equipment, and working with multiple entities to assure that our County Public Safety Communications are dependable and function at the top level for security and efficiency.
This past month, we had the opportunity to work with several of the community groups renewing their members’ CPR cards and we have run them through the gamete to assure that they can trouble shoot problems, stay safe on scenes and handle a critical patient until the medics can arrive. Some of the departments represented in those training sessions are: The Switzerland County Jail, The Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department, The Vevay Police Department, The Switzerland County Dispatch Center, The Nurse Managed Clinic and the County Health Department. We appreciate the time they have taken to work on these skills and their willingness to make a team with the EMS, assuring that each patient in our county receives the best care that can be provided.
Thank you to the Belterra Casino for their overwhelming generosity in providing a Lucas CPR machine to be used in the county. It is currently carried on the primary squad coming from Vevay, and can do precise CPR compressions allowing for the medic to attend to airway stabilization, IV access and cardiac arrest drug therapy. We appreciate also, their staff, who are wonderful to work with in emergencies. It is truly a combined team working with the staff from Belterra.
Exemplifying teamwork, I cannot mention enough, the vital service that is found in our county First Responders and EMTs that serve our citizens from the county Fire Stations. I love their dedication and drive serving their neighbors and making the very foundation on which a County service is built. Likewise, we cannot thank enough Gayle Rayles and Nancy Craig who interact with us daily to keep us sound in business.
A big thank you to the REMC who remembered us in the past few weeks with a grant for three (3) I-O drills, a life-saving tool for a patient without IV access.
Although I have mentioned this before, it is fitting to mention again those organizations that have helped to furnish items which we are using over and over such as the CPR manikins and vehicle equipment, and this past quarter, we are appreciating the MainSource Bank for their donation of the beautiful conference table and 10 chairs that are used for training, building a solid safety net for the residents and guests of our county. We have had opportunity to use it, not just with our own staff, but also in trainings with the local Police departments, the School Safety Officer, the School nurses, the health departments, the fire departments and even with our precious little Switzerland County Girl Scouts.
Regarding training, we are happy to welcome Yonna Heath, an Emergency Nurse/EMT/ EMS Instructor onto our staff. Yonna grew up here in Switzerland County, and is very excited to help develop the Training Institution. She will be working with us in obtaining our Training Institution Credentials to assure that we can continue to train field EMTs to work in the county.
Zachary Brogan, one of the full time medics, has completed his EMS Instructor classroom education. He will be doing the teaching portion of the class and after graduation will join Yonna in this endeavor of building the future of competent pre-hospital medical care for our residents.
I am writing this to you on April 1st and today’s great news is that five Switzerland County residents have completed their EMT Basic education with the Training Institution of Ohio County EMS, and all five have passed the practical testing. (And that’s no April Fools!)
They are: Josh Abdon and Jason Chandler, currently serving with the East Enterprise Fire Department as Firefighter/1st Responders; Gary Fisher and Billy Bruns, currently running with Posey Fire Department as first responders; Angie Chase, another county resident, who does not have a fire department affiliation yet, but we look forward to being able to work with her in the county EMS system.
All five of these students did some of their clinical ride time with SCER and some came down for extra study time. They are responsible and dedicated people and I truly respect each one of them.
We are excited as our daily staff are also growing in their emergency medicine knowledge and skills. Glenn Scott, who graduated from Medic School last summer is now functioning as the primary medic every third day. Eric Tuemler, our full time EMT is currently in Medic School at Gateway College in Northern Kentucky and our part time EMT, Whitney Williams is in Medic School at Cincinnati State College in Cincinnati.
As you can see, it takes a lot of people to provide a service that cares for the injured and ill in a pre-hospital environment. A small sampling of needs that require someone to attend to are: bookkeeping, education, maintenance of vehicles and medical equipment, grant writing, logistics, and general staffing to assure that someone is always available to attend to every emergency. We are always looking for help to provide a great service for this county. If you are interested, I have planned an opportunity for the people in the county that will assist with large scale emergencies such as flooding, wide spread illness, wind storms and large community events. It is a CERT team. It stands for Citizens Emergency Response Team.
We have been working with our friends from the EMA and Dispatch Center in Scott County, who implemented a CERT team just over one year ago. They currently have over 100 members and have “deployed” these people a few times in the past year, including with the recent wind storms where they had several homes destroyed and more people stranded needing help. Each member takes a FEMA training course on line and then an 8 hour hands on class with the CERT instructors. Additional education can be done in a couple hour training every other month, which presents more detail of what to do in specific types of emergencies.
This is a great way to serve your own family first, your neighbors second and those in your community third. It is priceless education that should be known by everyone and a great asset for a rural community. The training is free and high school age and adults are welcome and encouraged to come. The participants during a call out, need to be 18 years of age, although the high schoolers are definitely welcome to come for the education sessions and practical exercises.
The first course that we will hold will begin on May 13th from 9 am to 1 pm, and will finish on May 20th from 9 am to 1 pm. It will be taught by the CERT instructors from Scott County. If you would like to help serve the county during an emergency situation, please call the office or me to sign up for the class and we will give you the web address for the prerequisite online training course. (See below for numbers.)
Although we have been quiet in the papers for a while, you can see that exciting things are happening in Switzerland County in the field of Public Safety. Please seriously consider coming out and becoming involved. We would love to work side by side with you.
Thank you for your time.
EMS Director, Switzerland County Emergency Response (SCER)
Office number: (812) 226-6073
Nadine Cell: (513) 615-3478