Suffolk wins outstanding EMS award – The Suffolk News-Herald
Suffolk Fire & Rescue received the Outstanding EMS Agency Award from the Tidewater Emergency Medical Services Council Inc.
The organization celebrated its regional EMS awards on June 21. The Council presented the honors to the individuals and agencies of Hampton Roads who have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to the EMS field.
“The Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service provides the highest level of pre-hospital emergency medical care to the citizens of Suffolk and our visitors every day,” said Michael Barakey, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Chief. “This award is given to the 300 men and women of the department who employ eight advanced resuscitation medical units, 11 ALS engine companies, three ALS ladder companies and 1 ALS heavy rescue company, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. . In addition, our Operational Medical Director, Dr Carl Wentzel III, our EMS office agents and our training office work together to provide the best equipment, training and advanced medical techniques to our paramedics and advanced paramedics who serve our citizens.
Suffolk Fire & Rescue, like many other regional departments, faced one of its most difficult challenges in the spring of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the city, a severe shortage of equipment Personal Protective would soon leave the men and women of Suffolk Fire & Rescue with no way to protect themselves from the ravages of this deadly disease.
The agency realized the need for new and innovative methods to procure this vital equipment. Suffolk Fire & Rescue has enlisted the help of the citizens we serve. This demand led to a heartfelt and humbling experience as the community answered the call by providing not only masks, gloves and gowns, but also food, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and more. messages of love and appreciation.
The ministry also assigned a purchasing manager to tirelessly research any equipment available across the country that met standards necessary for personal protection. Hours of phone calls and internet research led to the purchase of thousands of personal protective equipment which was stored and quickly deployed for our Suffolk firefighters and paramedics when needed, as the volume increased. calls and the risk of exposure increased.
Additionally, the department partnered with local businesses and agencies to supply and even manufacture components of personal protective equipment that could not be purchased through other means. One example was a one-time request made to the Suffolk Public Library to manufacture face shield components using their 3D printer. Suffolk Fire & Rescue’s innovative approach to creating hard-to-find parts has protected its staff. It has also reduced overall national demand, placing Suffolk Fire & Rescue in a unique position to reciprocate and expand its medical services to the city and its citizens.
This expanded effort began with test drives, in which Suffolk firefighters and Fire Academy recruits helped workers in the Western Tidewater Health District perform on-site testing at drive-thru test locations. . Next, Suffolk Fire & Rescue created educational brochures with information on when to call 911 if someone had possible symptoms related to COVID. These highly effective educational tools reduced public confusion and the need for unnecessary transportation, thereby increasing the capacity of hospital emergency rooms. Suffolk then posted videos via YouTube and other social media to further educate the public on proper techniques to reduce rates of transmission and infection.
Soon the world collectively achieved one of its most remarkable humanitarian achievements by developing a series of vaccines in record time to fight the deadly pandemic. In response, Suffolk firefighters and paramedics have mobilized, in partnership with Meals on Wheels, to provide home vaccines to older people unable to reach a clinic. This effort was so successful that Suffolk continued to provide vaccinators to local vaccination clinics when qualified vaccinators were in short supply.
COVID-19 was only a danger in the chaotic world of 2020, however, and no agency can afford to overlook the high-risk events that accompany a rapidly changing social landscape. As a leader in the region, Suffolk has taken the threat of active snipers / hostile events very seriously by providing each of our firefighters and paramedics with a plated steel personal bulletproof vest for protection and trauma treatment “Active threat” bags to help provide prompt care to the victims of these tragic events.
These are just a few examples of Suffolk Fire & Rescue’s commitment to its community and suppliers, who never fail to answer the call with professionalism and compassion. Suffolk has shown that it sticks to its motto, “Our family protecting yours”.
This year’s regional award recipients will have the chance to compete for the prestigious 2021 Governor’s EMS Awards, which will be announced later this year. The winners will receive a trophy and a certificate signed by the governor.