BY JIM JONES, DHHS OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
Secretary Wos speaks to emergency responders
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos stressed the value of teamwork in an address Oct. 1 to more than 900 paramedics and emergency medical responders attending the awards banquet at the conclusion of the 40th annual EM Today Conference in Greensboro.
"You are all essential to making this critical component of our health care system work efficiently and effectively across our state," Wos said. "As EMS workers and volunteers, you all know and value the importance of teamwork. We at DHHS understand and appreciate our role as part of that team and I assure you that we will continue to work as partners with you to support the vital role you play."
Winning team from Brunswick County during the competition.
Following her remarks, the top team in the 23rd annual North Carolina Paramedic Competition was announced: the Leland Fire/Rescue team of Chris Watford and Michael Herbert repeated as champions, turning away challenges from five regional champions for the second straight year.
Regina Godette-Crawford, head of the state’s Office of Emergency medical Services, offered congratulations to all the teams involved in the competition. “All these teams are winners,” she said. “These EMS teams represent the best of the best, and we’re proud of them all. They did an outstanding job with the scenario they each faced.”
The performance of each team was timed and graded before an audience of hundreds of peers. Teams were sequestered, and each was called out to face the same mock disaster scenario: a leaking propane tank that caused an explosion at rural liquor still. The explosion severely burned its operator and resulted in burns and a compound fracture in the right arm of the operator’s grandson as the teenager tried to run from the explosion. While care was being administered to the two explosion victims, a hunter with a bow stumbled into the clearing saying he’d just killed a deer, tried to carry it out of the woods and suddenly didn’t feel well. He collapsed, the apparent victim of a heart attack. It was a busy 13 minutes for each team.
The competition provides a training opportunity not only for the competitors, but for the 400 or so paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians watching from bleachers who closely observe each team’s analysis and reaction to the scenario. Teams are judged on professionalism, communication, patient rapport, conduct, attitude, appearance and attire.
Through the Office of Emergency Medical Services, the Department of Health and Human Services works to foster emergency medical systems, trauma systems and credentialed EMS personnel to improve in providing responses to emergencies and disasters, which will result in higher quality emergency medical care being delivered to the residents and visitors of North Carolina.