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EMSA Dispatch - June 2011

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Daniel R. Smiley - Acting Director

June 2011

EMSA Dispatch at a Glance...

EMS Week 2011 Wrap-Up

EMS Personnel Classifications are Being Updated

Golden Guardian 2011 Exercise

NDMS Outstanding Achievement Awards

Bits & Pieces: National EMS Memorial, LODD Handbook,

Send us your Heroes!

EMSA is accepting nominations for the 2011 California EMS Awards through September 1.

Paramedics, emergency medical technicians, administrators, trainers, volunteers, physicians, nurses, and first responders - together they are California's prehospital emergency medical care system. They ensure that in a medical emergency, a trained provider responds to a call for help and does what needs to be done. It's an act of courage every time. Win or lose.

Each year, the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) honors their accomplishments through the California EMS Awards Program. These awards recognize meritorious acts, heroic acts, special advocacy, innovations or new approaches to improve EMS in the state.

  • Medal of Valor
  • EMS Cross
  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Lifesaving Medal
  • Community Service Award
  • Inter-service EMS Recognition Medal
  • Civilian Award for EMS
  • EMT of the Year Award
  • EMS Educator of the Year Award

Nominations for the 2011 California EMS awards are being accepted now through September 1. Nominations should cover activities occurring in 2010-2011. An awards ceremony will be held in San Francisco on December 7, 2011. Nomination forms and additional information are available on the EMSA website at

Honoring EMS Professionals in California

Wrap-Up of EMS Week Activities Statewide

by Brian Brereton

American Ambulance Association Stars of Life Awards

Every year in May, just before EMS week, the American Ambulance (AAA) invites paramedics and EMTs from around the country to a three-day-long event in Washington DC. It is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of a few, while recognizing the contributions of tens of thousands of EMS providers everyday. The AAA Star of Life is a special program that each year seeks to honor those few outstanding individuals. This year 82 were recognized from accross the nation (see picture above)

California, of course, always has good representation at this event, and six individuals (all from AMR) were honored (see below).


Contra Costa County Paramedic Tom Westbrook was recognized for his role in a swift water rescue and for two STEMI saves, one of which resulted in a door-to-baloon time of just 38 minutes. As a field training officer and preceptor, Tom helps develop training programs and protocol changes that will improve patient outcomes.

Michael O'Grady SoL 2011San Mateo paramedic Michael O'Grady and his partner, Forrest Uhland (below) noticed smoke coming from the city of San Mateo and rushed toward the area. The team was greeted by flames shooting 100 feet into the air. They headed into the scene and searched house-to-house for residents. Mike broke his ankle kicking in the door of a home and was able to locate an elderly man struggling to find safety.

Forrest Uhland SoL2011

Forrest Uhland and his partner, Michael O'Grady (above) were the first ambulance on scene of a six-alarm fire in San Bruno, California that cost the lives of eight residents. Last year Forrest completed his paramedic training. He never misses an opportunity to increase his knowledge and improve his clinical skills.

Kevin Smith SoL 2011

Sonoma County paramedic Kevin Smith is a dedicated advocate committed to clinical excellence. Over the past years Kevin has spearheaded the transformation of his operation's field training officer new hire program, spending months to ensure each recruit has the skills, committment and attitude to operate successfully.

Michael Atwell SoL2011

Michael Atwell, paramedic from Victorville was off duty having lunch last September when he was notified by a waitress that a person at the restaurant was having a medical emergency. Mike went to assist the patient who was in cardiac arrest. Although two docotrs were present, Mike assumed care and directed the doctors to provide CPR while he shocked the patient several times with the restaurant's AED unit. When the ambulance arrived the patient had spontaneous respirations and a heartbeat and later made a full recovery.

Gary Smotry SoL2011Gary Smotry, Palm Springs paramedic and field training officer has been recognized throughout his career for several cardiac arrest saves. Last year he delivered a healthy baby boy in the elevator of a local hospital while transporting the mother. Gary also serves as an instructor an as a preceptor in several paramedic programs. In addition Gary uses his own money to purchase stuffed animals for AMR's pediatric patients.


CAA Stars of Life Awards Highlight EMS Week

Stars Group CAA2011The California Ambulance Association (CAA) celebrated EMS Week as always, with its annual Stars of Life awards banquet in Sacramento April 12th. The awards were presented by Bob Barry, CAA Chair, and Dan Smiley, Acting Director of the Emergency Medical Services Authority. The keynote speaker for the evening was State Assembly member Dr. Richard Pan, who spoke primarily on his experiences as a pediatrician and his hope to improve Medi-Cal. The banquet capped a day of meeting with legislators to focus attention on EMS transportation issues.

The 2011 Stars of Life Recipients:

  • Alberto Alvarez, Paramedic, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • Claudia Andrade, EMT, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • George Baker, Paramedic, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • Chris Brooks, Field Supervisor, Protransport-1, Cotati
  • Sebastian Chavez, EMT, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • Kevin Cheek, EMT, Care Ambulance Services, Inc., Orange
  • Michael Colon, EMT, Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., Vallejo
  • Sean Cox, Operations Manager, Care Ambulance Service, Inc., Orange
  • Gary Crenshaw, Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., Vallejo
  • Heather Drolette, Contra Costa County Manager, Protransport-1, Cotati
  • Sara Fitzpatrick, Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Riggs Ambulance, Merced
  • Mike Grissom, EMT, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • Christopher Hern, EMT, Royal Ambulance, San Leandro
  • Carolina Hernandez, EMT, Care Ambulance Service, Inc., Orange
  • Perry Hookey, Clinical Education Coordinator, Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., Vallejo
  • Nathan Kennedy, Paramedic, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • Mark Leonard, Paramedic, Coast Life Support District, Gualala
  • Kevin McClanahan, Care Ambulance Service, Inc., Orange
  • Brandon McNamara, Paramedic, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Bakersfield
  • Stephanie Melton, EMT, Care Ambulance Service, Inc., Orange
  • Jennifer Mundy, Paramedic/Clinical Coordinator, Manteca District Ambulance Service, Manteca
  • Shaun Navarra, Paramedic, Medical Ambulance Service, Inc., Livermore
  • Walter Parton, Paramedic, Riggs Ambulance, Merced
  • James Recto, EMT, Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., Vallejo
  • John Thane, EMT, Ops. Supervisor/Lead Training Officer, Royal Ambulance, San Leandro
  • Sandra Whaley, Communications Manager, Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., Sacramento
  • Scott Wood, Paramedic, Medic Ambulance Service, Inc., Sacramento


Kern County's Ambulance Association sponsored its first annual "EMS Week Golf Tournament", a fundraiser benefitting Bakersfield College's Paramedic Program. John Surface, Operations Manager for Hall Ambulance stated that all levels of EMS participated-ambulance, law enforcement, hospitals, government oversight & medical equipment suppliers; and by all accounts everyone had fun! They raised more than $3500 for the College Program and plan to do better every year.


Alameda Awrds Bnqt

Left to right: Jack Neiman-Kimel, LPFD Battalion Chief; Joe Rodondi, LPFD Deputy Chief of Operations; Dennis Burns, LPFD Captain; Steve Davis, LPFD Firefighter/Paramedic; Heather Hughes, bystander; Todd Whitehead, LPFD Engineer; Dave Brecht, AMR Paramedic; Joe Durrenberger, AMR EMT; Jim Miguel, LPFD Fire Chief.

Alameda County held its annual awards banquet honoring individuals or teams that went above and beyond the call of duty relating to EMS, including the "Siren Award" recognizing teams of individuals from one or more multiple agencies (like that of LPFD, AMR and bystander pictured here) who attempted to save a life. Four awards were given this year representing four victims of cardiac arrest who all survived with no adverse reactions. Oakland Fire, Albany Fire and Fremont Fire were also recipients.


LA Cty RN of the YrLos Angeles County 2011 Nurse of the Year Award was bestowed upon Mark Ferguson, RN. Mark joined LA EMS agency on December 6, 1999, as a nursing instructor for the J. Michael Criley Paramedic Training Institute (PTI). Mark has remained at PTI and has become a vital part of the training program. Mark was promoted to Senior Nursing Instructor in 2004, when he took on the role of primary training coordinator. In addition to many roles, he oversees the EMT continuing education program for the ambulance services section of the EMS Agency.


Solano County EMS and Medic Ambulance hosted their Second Annual EMS Conference.


Ted Selby(L), Solano County EMS Administrator and Perry Hookey (R), Medic Ambulance's educational coordinator get everyone's attention during the public CPR class.

The three day event was held at NorthBay Healthcare's Green Valley Conference Center on May 19-21 concluding with a dinner and awards banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. Topics covered at the symposium ranged from trauma to organ donations and burns to gunshot wounds. All were well attended, timely and well recieved. The entire EMS community came together on this event to make it a great success, including fire services, hospitals, Medic Ambulance Company, air ambulance, Solano County Agency as well as many vendors.


Marin Survivors Celebration

"Survivors", L to R: Rene Ismael Martinez, Zach Koblick, Gunnar Sandberg, George Halmos, John Richter.

Marin County's first "Survivors Celebration" was a huge success, reuniting five of the county's emergency victims with the devoted rescuers and care providers responsible for saving their lives. Attendees included Assemblyman Jared Huffman, Battalion Chief Mike Giannini, KPIX news anchor Dana King and Marin County EMS Administrator, Miles Julihn. Also, Mary Jane Boyd, RN represented Marin General Hospital and Elizabeth Froneberger, RN represented Kaiser Permanente. Many people might recall the news nationally about Marin Catholic High School's star pitcher, Gunner Sandberg, getting hit in the head by a line drive, with the accompanying skull fracture and subsequent neurosurgery. Not only was the outcome good for Gunner with a full recovery, but most school baseball teams around the country changed their policies to prohibit aluminum bats and use a new helmet designed to better protect players from head injuries. Thanks to a few dedicated EMS providers in Marin many Californians can feel safer when the umpire shouts, "play ball."

EMS Personnel Classifications and Hours to be Updated

Specialty Medic Classifications Proposed

by Cheryl Lepley

EMS Authority staff within the Personnel Standards Unit have been working on preparing regulation revisions for the following Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel classifications: Emergency Medical Responder(EMR), Emergency Medical Technician(EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician(AEMT), and Paramedic. The regulation revisions will update the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 9; Chapter 1.5 (Public Safety First Aid Regulations), Chapter 2 (EMT Regulations), Chapter 3 (Advanced EMT Regulations), and Chapter 4 (Paramedic Regulations) respectively. The major change to all chapters of the regulations is to add the United States Department of Transportation's National EMS Education Standards and Instruction Guidelines as the State of California curriculum.

Additional changes that are being made to Chapter 1.5 include the addition of the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), to replace the prior term of "First Responder," and to clarify training content and hours (48 hours proposed). A scope of practice for both first aid trained public safety personnel as well as a scope of practice for EMRs is also being proposed.

Chapter 2 will be amended to increase the required EMT course hours from 120 to 160 hours (144 hours of didactic training and 16 hours of clinical experience); adopt the EMT Instructional Guidelines as the EMT course content; amend the scope of practice to mirror the National EMS Scope of Practice Model; and minor clean-up to sections of the regulations to provide more clarity.

Chapter 3 will be changed to increase the required AEMT course hours from 88 to 160 hours (80 hours of didactic instruction, 40 hours of clinical experience, and 40 hours of field internship); amend the scope of practice to mirror the National EMS Scope of Practice Model; update sections pertaining to base hospital accreditation; and minor clean-up to sections of the regulations to provide more clarity.

Chapter 4 will update sections pertaining to base hospital accreditation, and include two new levels of specialized paramedic practitioners: the Critical Care Transport-Paramedic (CCT-P) and the Advanced Pre-hospital Paramedic (APP). The CCT-P and the APP will require each classification to obtain an additional 120 hours of expanded training (80 hours didactic, 40 hours clinical). The scope of practice will be amended to add a number of local optional scope of practice items to the basic scope.

These regulations will be available for public comment in early July 2011.

2011 Golden Guardian


Left to right: EMSA Communications Specialist Ken Martzen & EMSA staff Markell Pierce & Ted Hussey Utilizing EMSA's communications vehicle as the Back-Up Dispatch Center for Sutter County in the Golden Guardian 2011 Exercise.

The 2011 Golden Guardian (GG) Exercise enabled the Emergency Medical Services Authority to evaluate elements of our response capabilities to catastrophic Inland Region flood scenarios.

On May 17, 18 and 19, EMSA exercised its activation of the Department Operations Center (DOC) at the Station 1 location in Rancho Cordova and deployed the EMSA communications vehicle to Sutter County for a field communications event.

EMSA, along with the Sutter County Public Health Department and the Yuba Sutter Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) group worked together to develop a field communications event as part of the exercise play with assistance from Sierra Sacramento Valley (SSV) EMS Agency. EMSA deployed its communications vehicle and communications specialists to Sutter County as a back-up dispatch resource in response to a resource request and mission tasking. During exercise play, a simulated failure of Sutter County's primary dispatch operations led to tests utilizing EMSA's communications vehicle as the back-up dispatch center for Sutter County. This included communications with participating hospitals throughout Sutter, Yolo and Placer Counties as well as law enforcement dispatch centers. The communications vehicle also tested radio communications back to the EMSA DOC as well as amateur radio contacts with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in Richmond. SSV EMS Agency also hosted "EMS Appreciation Day" adjacent to the field event and provided training and lunch to participants and guests.

For additional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activity, EMSA staff were in medical/health positions at the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) State Operations Center, the Inland Regional Operations Center and the CDPH EOC in Richmond, California.

This was the first time DOC operations were carried out at the Station 1 location and based on the exercise "hot wash," following the three day exercise, participants reported that all DOC activities went extremely well. EMSA is currently in the process of developing the after action report and the improvement plan for this exercise.

The annual Golden Guardian exercise provides EMSA the opportunity to evaluate plans, policies, procedures and field assets used to respond to disasters. The implementation of the corrective actions that have been identified in the GG 2011 exercise will improve the Authority's response in the future. A grateful thank you and congratulations goes out to all exercise participants as we begin planning for the GG 2012 exercise.

GG #2

Jim Eads(L) is the Admisnistrative Officer for DMAT CA-9 and Dave Lipin(R) is the Commander of DMAT CA-6

EMSA Mission Support Team members receive National Disaster Medical Systems Outstanding Achievement Awards

The Integrated Medical, Public Health, Preparedness and Response Training Summit is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and brings together HHS partners including the National Disasters Medical System (NDMS), the Medical Reesrve Corps(MRC), the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals(ESAR-VHP) and the U.S. Public Health Service. The 2011 summit was co-sponsored by the Chesapeake Health Education Program, Inc. and was held this past May 3 in Grapevine Texas. The vision for 2011 is to have a robust, well-trained and integrated pool of public health and medical responders who understand their roles and missions in times of need, as well as those of their response partners, in order to best serve our communities, states, tribes and the nation.

In addition to the four-day conference of workshops, awards were presented to over 55 individuals for extraordinary service to the NDMS. California was represented with two award recipients (picture above): Jim Eads is the Administrative Officer for Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) CA-9 and was awarded the 2010 NDMS Response Team Distinguished Employee of the year. Dave Lipin is the Commander of DMAT CA-6 and was awarded for Outstanding Performance in Support of the NDMS. EMSA extends warm congratulations to Jim and Dave. The Disaster Medical Services Division is proud to work closely with these distinguished gentlemen who have also made significant contributions to the development of the State's Mobile Medical Assets Program.

Bits & Pieces

Remembering Fallen EMS Heroes

The National EMS Memorial is composed of the Tree of Life and the Memorial Book. The Tree of Life is a representation of an oak tree, symbolizing strength. The name, agency and date of loss of each National EMS Memorial Service honoree is engraved on a bronze oak leaf, which is then added to the tree of life. The Memorial Book contains a page for each National EMS Memorial Service Honoree. California is adding one honoree this year to the 16 Californians currently in the book (out of over 550 this year nationwide): Esteban Angel Bahena of San Diego Medical Services, San Diego. Esteban, 24, was placing flares on a highway MCVA when he was hit by a high-speed motorist.

The 19th annual National EMS Memorial Service will take place Saturday, June 25, 2011 at the First Presbyterian Church in Colarado Springs, Colorado at 6pm. Check the NEMSM website for a webcast of the event simulcast live.

The 14th annual National Moment of Silence is scheduled to occur at 7:30 PM mountain time, Saturday June 25, 2011. The National Moment of Silence allows all of America's EMS providers who cannot personally be in attendance at the Memorial Service to participate and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty.

"Line of Duty Death Handbook" released

LODD Handbook Cvr AAA, AMR and NEMSMS recognized, through their experiences with line of duty deaths, that EMS personnel do their jobs, sometimes at great personal risk, and many agencies have no policies or guidelines in place to deal with the worst should a line of duty death strike. The Duty Death Handbook has been created as a public service to the EMS community in the hopes it will assist in preplanning for such an event and/or aid agencies at the time of their loss. The handbook is offered as a guide only and is meant to be adopted into an agency's current policies and procedures. This on-line publication is available to the EMS community by the editors free of charge; however they suggest a donation of $20 be made to the National EMS Memorial Service. The Handbook may be downloaded at

Ambulance Fee Schedule Fact Sheet Revised

The revised Ambulance Fee Schedule fact sheet is now available in downloadable format from the Medicare Learning Network, Schedule.

This fact sheet is designed to provide education about the Ambulance Fee Schedule including background, ambulance providers and suppliers, ambulance service payments, and how payments are set.

A new way of calculating the Ambulance Inflation Factor (AIF) that changes Medicare fee schedules will mean that Medicare reimbursement will, on average, be at least 1% less than expected each year from now on. Even without this change, some agencies have already seen a 10% decrease in reimbursements for this year compared with 2004, despite a 20% increase in inflation during the same time period, according to Oceanside (CA) Fire Department Battalion Chief Peter Lawrence. Click here for the full JEMS article dated June 13, 2011: .

Courtesy of the National Association of State EMS Officials

Dont Miss A Beat CPR


Q: What do the BeeGees and the American Heart Association have in common?

A: "Stayin Alive" is the current song to be singing while performing "Hands-only" CPR.

Peds on GG brifge

Marin County EMS Agency, despite the rain, trained over 1100 people during their "Sidewalk CPR" day, including those walking accross the Golden Gate Bridge. (Pictured at right)

In San Luis Obispo County, every Friday in June, Cambria residents can find more than fresh onions, zucchini and flowers at the Farmers Market. Cambria Community Healthcare District has long been involved with community education as CCHD recognizes not only the remoteness their town enjoys, but that it also means long transport times to the nearest hospital. CCHD currently has three employees (Paramedics

Kate Bounds and Dan Cariaga and EMT Denise

Codding) who are American Heart Association instructors. While shopping for the freshest produce in Cambria, it only takes about 15 minutes to learn Hands-Only-CPR. "The life you save may be your own", says Paramedic Bounds. I guess visiting the local farmers market can be Heart-Healthy in more ways than one!

Contra Costa County: The Mt. Diablo Healthcare District donated CPR Anytime kits to train 3000 Mt. Diablo USD 9th graders Hands-On-CPR and using an AED.

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