EMS Strong: Beyond the Call

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 9:15am

AUGUSTA — There were more than 146,000 EMS-related 9-1-1 calls in Maine in 2018. There were 275,000 EMS dial incidents in 2018, in Maine.

What’s the difference?

“You get 911 calls, which I’m familiar with," said Michael Sauschuck, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. “And then the incident part is primarily police officers going to a scene, seeing a drop of blood, fainting, and then calling for EMS personnel to roll in. So that was the additional 125,000 or so calls that are answered.”

Sauschuck was on hand at the Maine State Capitol, Monday, May 20, to help recognize the thousands of emergency medical responders around Maine. And, in particular, this year’s award recipients who’ve gone above the call of duty.

Because of EMS intervention, 583 Maine people regained a pulse after cardiac arrests.

“Every one of those incidents. Every one of those numbers is a loved one – is a family member – that we hope went home at the end of the day.”

Because of EMS, 18 babies were born prior to reaching the labor ward.

“What makes you the cream of the crop is the way you interact with people. The way you talk to people. The way you care about people.”

As well, “Beyond the Call” stands for self care. Sauschuck encouraged responders to check in with their peers, give and receive support, “and making sure that after those crazy calls, that you go on.”

Matthew Sholl, Maine EMS state medical director, told responders that their presence is a physical representation in a time of fear. EMS compassion means the world to patients. And the professionalism sets the stage for everything that happens to the patient in every further aspect of the medical system.

 

This year’s awards:

Durham Fire Department and it’s HeartSafe Communities early intervention program.

Excellence in EMS

Sylvia Hull of Sabatus worked for Portland Fire for 25 years, then continued on with multiple other agencies. She has a focus on helping women rise through the ranks in a male-dominated field.

Scott Smith has more than 20 years of involvement with EMS. Smith is an emergency nurse and paramedic and instructor. He was also Maine EMS education coordinator. He’s coordinated the Partners EMS Conference and has provided continuing education for hundreds of providers every year.

Basil Mahaney is paramedic and service chief of Northeast Harbor, a role he’s had for 7 years now. He’s been involved with EMS for ten years and works full-time with Bar Harbor Fire Department. Running an ambulance service in a summer tourist town is challenging, not only with the influx and quantity of calls, but also the demographic of the population. Basil has developed a reputation for the passion he devotes to his crew, many of whom are volunteers with families. The community also recognizes him for the free blood pressure clinics and outreach programs.

EMS Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevin Curry, of Union, has been involved with EMS for more than 40 years, though his first job was with Transco and then Xerox. While living in Union, he joined the Augusta Fire Department, where he retired just a few weeks ago with a long and distinguished career there. Curry has been involved with South Thomaston, St. George, Warren, Wiscasset, Southern Lincoln County, Damariscotta, and many others. He is a highly sought after AHA instructor of basic and specialty courses.

Merit Award

Cassandra Clark, of Livermore Falls, has been a provider for about 10 years. She started as an EMT, struggled at first, but determination kept her going. She went on to become a paramedic and is now a supervisor with NorthStar EMS. She assists as a mentor and a skill instructor. She’s worked with police departments on the Narcan program, and with firefighters on emergency medical responder training. She’s a member of Tri-County Critical Incident and Stress Management Team, and works to provide education to the community.

Amanda Chretien has been an EMT in Newport for nearly 20 years. She carries the distinction of being the town’s first full-time firefighter/EMT. For ten years, Amanda responded to an estimated 70% of calls by herself. She’s an instructor, and is the live-in student coordinator for the fire department. She spends many hours each week providing wellness checks for elderly people in her community.

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com