Ala. hospital EMS providers recognized for work at nursing home evacuation

Decatur's EMS coordinator presented a challenge coin to six hospital EMS employees and called their willingness to jump in "unprecedented"


Bayne Hughes
The Decatur Daily

DECATUR, Ala. —Decatur Fire & Rescue honored Decatur Morgan Hospital emergency medical services personnel for their assistance in organizing a June 8 evacuation when a kitchen fire forced Summer Manor residents out of the building.

At Tuesday's monthly Ambulance Regulatory Board meeting, city EMS Coordinator Chris Phillips presented a "Challenge Coin" to six hospital EMS employees. The Decatur Fire & Rescue coin recognizes someone who does something above and beyond normal expectations or beyond their normal job duties.

Receiving coins from the hospital's new ambulance service, which began officially last year, were director of EMS Tyler Stinson, EMS Coordinator Denise Moody, Shift Supervisor Patrick Niles and emergency medical technicians Jovani Dale, Bart Holmes and Rebecca Hill.

Phillips said Morgan County 911 received a call at 12:36 p.m. that a fire alarm was going off and there was smoke on the fourth floor of Summer Manor coming from the fifth floor.

The dispatcher "told the caller to evacuate the building and to tell everyone he encounters to evacuate also," Phillips said.

When the Fire Department and hospital ambulance service arrived, Phillips said the first priority was evacuating the nine-story, 71-unit building. Summer Manor, on Wilson Street Northeast, is a Decatur Housing Authority facility for low-income seniors.

Phillips said the hospital's EMS management and crews jumped into an organizational assignment. They began performing accountability and assessments of the residents as they exited the building.

"Obviously, evacuation without knowing who has evacuated and who has not can be counterproductive," Phillips said.

He said the ambulance service's actions allowed firefighters to focus on search and evacuation, fire suppression and other procedures necessary to make sure the building was safe.

Phillips said the new ambulance service's willingness to jump in was "something unprecedented" that he doesn't remember ever occurring in the 20 years he's been with the Fire Department.

Stinson said they didn't have to take any of the Summer Manor residents to the hospital.

"We had to put a few on oxygen in the trucks but everyone was OK," Stinson said.

Decatur Morgan Hospital began an ambulance service last year and was a competitor to First Response Ambulance Service. First Response pulled out of Decatur in March after years of acrimony with city officials and Decatur Fire & Rescue leadership, giving the hospital a monopoly in Decatur.

In other news, Stinson said his ambulance service responded to 268 of 295 calls in May within the city's requirement that it reach the scene in 9 minutes or less. That 91% rate of timely responses meets the city's ordinance, which requires that the response time be within nine minutes for 90% of calls.

The hospital service made 100% of its 21 calls within the 13 minutes the city requires for response times in the police jurisdiction, Stinson said.

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(c)2022 The Decatur Daily

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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