Promoting these best practices as a resource for other first responder programs is crucial in furthering our overall shared missions of saving lives.- Andrew B. Wigglesworth, President and CEO, MedicAlert Foundation
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) May 01, 2014
MedicAlert Foundation and the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) recognized the innovation and leadership of three fire departments with the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award at the 26th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner tonight at the Washington Hilton. The honorees were the Memphis Fire Department (TN), Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services (MD), and Cullman County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (AL).
In its fourth year, the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards program showcases fire departments which exhibit best practices and innovative solutions in the delivery of emergency medical services. CFSI and MedicAlert Foundation established the awards program to promote innovative emergency medical services programs as examples for other fire departments around the country to consider embracing to enhance the services they provide within their communities.
The three fire departments – one career, one combination, and one volunteer – presented with the fourth Annual Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards are:
- Memphis Fire Department (Career): Implementation of LUCAS mechanical CPR devices in all 35 ambulances to improve their ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) rates for sudden cardiac arrest victims.
- Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue (Combination): Innovations created in order to improve cardiac care for residents, including: an education and feedback program to reduce DTB times for STEMI patients; an aggressive training program designed to improve neurologically intact survival for patients experiencing out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest; development of a Community Hands-Only CPR program; and the use of Glidescope Video Laryngoscope to reduce interruptions in CPR for sudden cardiac arrest patients.
- Cullman County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (Volunteer): Rigorous Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) education and licensing pilot program designed to increase the number of Licensed EMRs throughout the county.
[Note: A summary noting the outstanding accomplishments of each winner follows]
“Fire Service-Based EMS continues to develop innovative approaches for providing the best level of emergency medical services in the country,” said CFSI President Bill Jenaway. “CFSI is proud to co-sponsor the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award Program with the MedicAlert Foundation to recognize those fire departments on the forefront in EMS delivery innovations – innovations necessitated by changing demands, new technology and budget considerations – all of which have impacted many jurisdictions across the nation.”
“These departments have displayed remarkable dedication to the communities they serve by implementing these innovations in order to ensure the top most quality of care during a medical crisis,” said Andrew B. Wigglesworth, President and Chief Executive Officer of MedicAlert Foundation. “We have continued to partner with CFSI to promote this excellence award in an effort to recognize departments who exhibit ingenuity that distinguish them from other fire-based EMS programs nationwide. Promoting these best practices as a resource for other first responder programs is crucial in furthering our overall shared missions of saving lives.”
Approximately 1,800 fire and emergency services leaders from across the nation attended the National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and joined in paying tribute to the dedication and commitment of the nation’s fire and emergency services. Hosted by CFSI, the annual Dinner benefits the mission of the nonprofit policy organization, which is designed to educate members of Congress about fire and life safety issues.
About Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)
Established in 1989, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute that works with members of Congress in promoting fire and life safety issues. Working with other national fire service organizations, the Institute focuses its attention on issues that benefit all first responders. Members of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the largest caucus in Congress, look to CFSI for guidance and information to enhance their level of understanding about the challenges and needs of our nation’s fire and EMS communities. For more information on CFSI, visit http://www.cfsi.org.
About MedicAlert Foundation
Established in 1956, the nonprofit charity MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the use of medical ID products and delivers the most dependable, responsive, and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. MedicAlert provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service. MedicAlert Foundation International medical ID products alert emergency personnel to a member’s primary health conditions, medications or other critical information. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation International also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. Visit http://www.medicalert.org for more information.
Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards Winners
Memphis Fire Department (Career):
The Memphis Fire Department (MFD) is the largest EMS system in the state of Tennessee and the mid-south, and operates one of the most progress EMS systems in the United States. The department is recognized for its aggressive cardiac program which has improved patient care and survival during sudden cardiac events, along with its extensive EMS education program.
With grant funding assistance from the Assisi Foundation, the department was able to furnish all 35 of its front-line ambulances with LUCAS mechanical CPR devices. By implementing this life-saving measure, the Memphis Fire Department increased their ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) rates for full arrest victims. In just one year, ROSC rates increased from 21% to 32%. The LUCAS device was utilized on 114 full arrests, with ROSC transpiring in 37 of those cases.
Due to the initial success rates with LUCAS devices, the Assisi Foundation provided new grant money in order to assist in saving more lives. In 2013, MFD personnel performed CPR on a total of 1,134 patients with ROSC occurring in 348 of those cases. Sudden cardiac arrest victims in Memphis now have a much greater chance at survival due to these innovative changes.
Additionally, the Memphis Fire Department is the only non-university or college in the State of Tennessee authorized to educated paramedics. The Department conducts EMT classes and numerous continuing education programs, many of which are American Heart Association courses.
Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services (Combination):
Howard County serves a vast area exceeding 262 square miles of both suburban and rural communities. With such a sizeable population to serve, the department has strived to create innovations that will improve cardiac care response times to their residents. The department is recognized for several of these recent innovations.
First, the department established a partnership with Howard County General Hospital which has resulted in minimized heart damage for patients who experience STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction). The partnership program created an advanced education and feedback system which has reduced DTB (door-to-balloon) times to 72 minutes, and increased accuracy of over 85% in the identification of STEMI patients.
Additionally, the department made an aggressive stride to improve neurologically intact survival for patients experiencing out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest by sending a personnel team of 15 to the Resuscitation Academy in Seattle. This team then developed the CARES program which travels among first stations to ensure all staff members are proficient in high-performance CPR. Through the implementation of the CARES program, the neurologically intact survival rates for 2012 and 2013 have been 47% and 53% respectively.
The third innovation is the department's development of a Community Hands-Only CPR program. The program has been supported by local organizations including the Howard County General Hospital, the Howard County Public Library System, Howard Community College, and the Howard County Public School System. Additionally, the department recently purchased manikins for local schools and has provided “train-the-trainer” instruction for teachers to train all students. This program has now been mandated into the School’s curriculum and serves as a graduation requirement for both 6th and 9th grades.
Finally, Howard County Fire has implemented the use of Glidescope Video Laryngoscope to reduce interruptions in CPR for sudden cardiac arrest patient. The department investigated video laryngoscopy as an airway management method during January 2011 and June 2013. Results revealed that the overall success for video laryngoscopy was 87.1%. Most significantly, 69% of the studied cases did not result in the pause of compressions for intubation attempts.
Cullman County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments (Volunteer):
The state of Alabama was suffering from growing rural populations and shrinking numbers of hospital facilities (which results in extended response times), and a first responder community that was polarized into highly trained EMS personnel and those with little (to no) recent medical training.
With this in mind, the department introduced an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) education and licensing program. Administered through the State of Alabama Department of Public Health and Office of EMS and Trauma, the training incorporates stretcher operations and how to successfully work within the local responder/ALS provider framework.
While the national standard for the EMR program specifies a minimum of 45 education hours, the Cullman County program requires 60 hours of a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on psychomotor skills development and testing. Upon successful completion of the program, the Alabama Department of Public Health will grant state licensure, and students may also sit for the National Registry Exam.
This training program has resulted in 49 State Licensed EMRs. The program is transforming from its infancy in Cullman County and is developing beyond its borders and across the state in order to grow and serve those in need.