Licensure Renewal Videos Help Prevent Common Mistakes
By Priscilla Rivera, EMS Personnel Standards Division
The Paramedic Licensure Unit has created three useful informational videos that will help paramedics avoid common application errors and licensure delays. Using a combination of volunteer staff, PowerPoint and some ingenuity, these videos have been made available to the general public through the EMS Authorities’ YouTube channel. The videos identify commonly made mistakes and offer tips for avoiding them.
“We do our best to help the medic’s get their licenses back as soon as possible,” Paramedic Licensure Unit Manager June Leicht said. “This is just one of the newest tools we offer.”
Recently the Unit had a chance to see just how helpful the videos are when Medic Gerardo Martinez stopped by the office. Medic Martinez was on a trip from LA to Oregon when he decided to watch our videos. As he watched he realized there was an error on his application. His quick response saved him what could have been weeks of delays on his application due to a very common mistake. We hope all medics who watch this video get as much useful information as Medic Martinez did.
“The video is very helpful because I knew right away what I did wrong. It was easy to follow and really helped me out,” Medic Martinez said.
The three new informational videos include:
- Initial In-State Informational Video (Covers questions regarding applications for medics applying for the first time and trained in the state of California)
- Initial Out-of-State Informational Video (Covers questions regarding applications for medics applying for the first time and trained in outside the state of California)
- Renewal Informational Video (Covers questions regarding issues found with renewal applications)
Recent statistics show the number of applications being sent back averaged 13-14% a month, at an estimated cost to the department of $3,500. Through the videos and other steps taken by the Licensure Unit the department will be able to save money and reduce the number of applications returned. The videos can be found at the EMS Authority YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/EMSAuthority.
EMS on the Fireline
Fire season is fully underway in California and across the U.S. It goes without saying that wildland firefighting is dangerous work, so it’s critical that medical care be immediately available on the fireline. This requires specially trained personnel who can provide temporizing medical care in an austere environment under extreme conditions.
Since 2000, the duty position of Fireline Emergency Medical Technician (FEMT) has been a part of the Incident Command System (ICS) available to be ordered as a resource at the direction of the incident commander. In 2009, FIRESCOPE approved the position manual for Fireline Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (FEMP).
“FIRESCOPE has been working on the fireline medic position for several years to formalize the delivery of advanced life support prehospital care in a wildland fire setting,” explained Mike Giannini, EMS Battalion Chief for Marin County Fire Department. He is also a member of the FIRESCOPE EMS Specialist Group which wrote the FEMP position manual.
The FEMP position manual provides the qualifications and requirements. Once an individual meets the requirements outlined in the position manual and they are approved by their fire chief, they can be assigned to an incident anywhere in the state.
Sharing resources among jurisdictions makes it possible to multiply available resources many times over when needed, but it also introduces complexity when licensing or certification, accreditation and local control are involved. Although paramedics are licensed by the EMS Authority at the state level, they must have authorization to practice from the local EMS medical director within the county where they are working.
For this reason, each LEMSA should have a written policy which provides a process for sending paramedics out of county expressly for FEMP assignments. Cathy Chidester, Los Angeles County EMS Administrator, represents the Emergency Medical Services Administrator’s Association of California (EMSAAC) on the FIRESCOPE EMS Specialist Group. “It’s critical for counties to understand this program and develop their policies to ensure that there is good medical director coordination when a medic is deployed in a mutual aid capacity,” she explained.
The Los Angeles County policy was used to develop a sample LEMSA Fireline Medic Policy. That document, along with the ICS position descriptions, training requirements and a sample LEMSA Fireline Medic policy, visit the FIRESCOPE EMS Specialist Group webpage at http://firescope.org/specialist-groups/ems/specialist-ems.htm
Bill Hartley Appointed to Health Program Manager II
EMSA congratulates Bill Hartley on his appointment to the position of Health Program Manager II in the Disaster Medical Services (DMS) Division. Bill will serve as the Assistant Chief of Operations for the division and his duties will include the oversight of the Response Resources Unit and the Response Personnel Unit as well as the management of the DMS budget and grants. Bill has done an excellent job as the Response Resources Unit Manager for the past three and a half years and, in addition, has taken on an increasing role in the grants management process.
Bill is a licensed vocational nurse and joined EMSA five years ago as a health program specialist in the plans and training unit. Prior to joining EMSA, Bill worked as a medical technical assistant with the Department of Corrections where he coordinated medical logistics, which proved valuable as EMSA began developing logistics for the state’s Mobile Medical Assets Program.
Bill’s professional history also includes 24 years as a volunteer firefighter for the cities of Rocklin and Lincoln, working as an emergency medical technician for a private ambulance provider in Placer County, and working as a dispatcher for the Lincoln Police Department.
Bryan Hanley Receives NDMS Outstanding Achievement Award
Bryan Hanley, who serves as a member of EMSA's Regional Disaster Medical Health Specialist Program from Region I, was recognized for his outstanding achievement from the newly appointed Director of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), Dr. Andrew Garret, during the awards ceremony at thi s year’s United States Department of Health and Human Services Integrated Training Summit held in Nashville, TN in May.
Bryan is a member of the EMSA’s Regional Disaster Medical Health Specialist Program serving California’s Mutual Aid Region I. Bryan received the NDMS team award for his service as the Administrative Officer and Paramedic for the California-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT CA-1). Bryan has worked in EMS for over twenty years, eight of those years he has served on the disaster response team. As a member of DMAT CA-1, Bryan has deployed to Hurricane Katrina, the 2007 Florida Hurricanes, and various Gulf Coast Hurricanes and has supported deployment to numerous National Security Events.
EMSA is proud to have team members like Bryan serving on the NDMS and other response teams.
Priscilla Rivera Named EMSA Employee of the Quarter
By June Leicht, EMS Personnel Standards Division
(Priscilla at left)
EMSA is proud to announce that Priscilla Rivera has been selected by her peers as the Employee of the Quarter. Priscilla is a management services technician in the Paramedic Licensure Unit and has worked for EMSA for a year and a half. Priscilla processes paramedic renewal applications, writes policies and procedures, maintains workload statistics, creates flow charts for various work processes, and works on special projects for EMSA's Licensure Unit.
Priscilla has a can-do attitude and provides excellent customer service to medics, her co-workers, and to representatives from other government agencies. After seeing the high number of deficiency letters being sent out, Priscilla suggested the creation of informational videos to help the medics. With the help of other EMSA staff, Priscilla created three different videos to assist medics in completing their applications. The videos identify common mistakes made on licensure applications and give tips to avoid them. Watch the videos here www.youtube.com/user/EMSAuthority.
In her effort to expand her knowledge and skills, Priscilla participated in EMSA's Golden Guardian Exercise in June and worked with emergency response representatives from throughout California. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Chico State University and a master’s of science degree in public relations from Syracuse University.
Outside of work, Priscilla has earned her diving certificate and has discovered a love for white water rafting. She enjoys reading, figuring out puzzles and is always willing to help a friend. Recently, she participated in the Race for the Cure in Sacramento with her Manager, June Leicht. She is also joining her niece’s team “Chloe’s Army of Elves” to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run in Seattle. Priscilla’s niece was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis when she was just 18 months old. Since then Priscilla and her family have been active in advocating Arthritis research. Her pleasant and supportive attitude has made her an excellent Employee of the Quarter. Thanks Priscilla for all your hard work!
EMSA Partners with U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs To Tackle Homelessness
By Adam Willoughby, EMS Authority Executive Division
Transitioning from military service to civilian life can be a very difficult process, resulting in homelessness for some service members. Numbers show that veteran homelessness is a national concern, with nearly 68,000 veterans going homeless on any given night in 2011.
Emergency medical personnel are uniquely positioned to help connect veterans with resources they may need because we interact with people in desperate situations every day. Therefore, EMSA is pleased to partner with the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to help spread the word about a VA initiative designed to connect veterans with resources they need.
Through the Homeless Veterans Initiative, the VA has committed $800 million in FY 2011 to strengthen programs that prevent and end homelessness among Veterans.
In the course of rendering patient care, ask the patient if he or she is a veteran. If so, and if it appears that they may need more than medical help, simply give them an item containing the VA’s phone number.
You can request cards, brochures, hats, bags, bandanas and many other give-away items for free from the VA and they all carry the message that the VA has resources to help veterans who are homeless or who are at risk of being homeless. Order at www.va.gov/homeless/materials_center.asp#giveaway
EMSA encourages local EMS providers to recognize their unique position to help veterans in need. Take advantage of the free resources provided through the VA and keep a supply of materials on-hand to distribute at every opportunity. If you have any questions about the program, email VAHomeless_Veteran_Outreach@va.gov.
Rattlesnake Bites at 12 Year High in California
By Adam Willoughby, EMS Authority Executive Division
As an EMS professional in California, it is important to be aware of the fact that rattlesnake bites are on the rise. According to the California Poison Control System Executive Director, Dr. Stuart E. Heard, the number of calls into the California Poison Control System regarding rattlesnake bites is at a 12 year high, with a 48% increase over last year.
Should you respond to a rattlesnake bite victim, follow these best treatment practices: (1) Calm and reassure the patient that they will be OK. While often painful, rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal in adults; (2) Wash bite area with soap and water; (3) Apply a cold, wet cloth over the bite; (4) Immediately transport patient to the nearest emergency facility for treatment.
Equally important for treating a rattlesnake bite victim is what NOT to do. Do NOT: (1) Apply a tourniquet; (2) Pack the bite area in ice; (3) Cut the wound with a knife or razor; (4) Use your mouth to suck out the venom; (5) Let the victim drink alcohol; (6) Apply electric shock.
If dispatched on a rattlesnake bite call, remember your emergency plan and best treatment practices. Calm the victim and transport to the nearest emergency facility. There is treatment available once the patient arrives.
As you speak with people throughout your communities, take the opportunity whenever possible to educate people about the increase in rattlesnake bites and inform them of these simple prevention techniques.
• Remind them hands, feet and ankles are the most common sites for rattlesnake bites.
• Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking in the rough. Always wear hiking boots.
• Always stay on paths. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where there may be snakes.
• Use a walking stick when hiking. If you come across a snake, it can strike the stick instead of you.
• Always look for concealed snakes before picking up rocks, sticks or firewood.
• Always check carefully around stumps or logs before sitting.
• When climbing, always look before putting your hands in a new location. Snakes can climb walls, trees and rocks and are frequently found at high altitudes.
• Never grab "sticks" or "branches" while swimming. Rattlesnakes are excellent swimmers.
• Baby rattlesnakes are venomous! They can and do bite. Leave them alone.
• Never hike alone. Always have a buddy to help in case of an emergency. Learn basic life-saving methods.
• Don't handle freshly killed snakes. You may still be bitten.
• Never tease a snake to see how far it can strike. You can be several feet from the snake and still be within striking distance.
• Don't keep rattlesnakes as pets. The majority of rattlesnake bites occur when people (usually intoxicated young men in their 20s) tease or play with their "pet" rattlesnake.
• Teach children to respect snakes and to leave snakes alone. Curious children who pick up snakes are frequently bitten.
• Always give snakes the right of way!