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2 EMS agencies recognized for injury prevention efforts

They received The Nicholas Rosecrans Award for Excellence in Injury Prevention, which was created to show how grief and frustration can be channeled into lasting good

Updated Jan 12, 2015

Two EMS agencies have been recognized for their innovation and excellence in injury prevention: Piedmont EMS in South Carolina and the Richmond (Va.) Ambulance Authority. The Nicholas Rosecrans Award for Excellence in Injury Prevention, given annually at the EMS Today conference, is sponsored by EPIC Medics, JEMS, Laerdal Medical, the National Office of EMS (NHTSA) and the RedFlash Group, of which I am one of the founders.

The origins of the award is instructive in how grief and frustration can be channeled into lasting good. Lynn Artz Rosecrans lost her 2-year-old son, Nicholas, in 1996 when he wandered off from his daycare and fell into a nearby pool. Paramedic Paul Maxwell was one of the first responders on scene, getting a pulse back initially, but ultimately to no avail. The experience has bonded Paul and Lynn together as they seek to prevent such tragedies for other families not only from drowning, but for the many preventable injuries that EMS practitioners experience every day.

The night before the award was given, the winners met for dinner. Rob Lawrence, CEO of Richmond Ambulance, and Robert White, EMS chief with Piedmont EMS, as well as Lynn and her family and Paul Maxwell, were there.

In many ways, Paul and Lynn, and the award itself, was ahead of its time when it started in 2002, as EMS struggled with the idea that injury prevention could be part of its mission when it was hard pressed to accomplish its primary objective: to mitigate injury after it happened. Paul, Lynn and the sponsors are to be congratulated for pressing forward with the idea that injury prevention for EMS is akin to fire prevention for the fire service. How could EMS practitioners not want to be part of that effort?

At dinner that night, Robert and Rob discovered they were kindred spirits, passionate in their efforts to help their communities prevent injuries. The movement toward community paramedicine and mobile integrated healthcare goes to the heart of this debate as EMS looks into its future and sees a whole new role for itself, far beyond transporting patients to the ED.

On another note, I was fortunate to be able to attend the dual EMS on the Hill and 911 Goes to Washington events in late March. One of the many events during the week is the annual 911 Heroes Gala. This year’s celebration was different; it was missing one of its own heroes and founders, Carla Anderson, who died unexpectedly last July at the age of 52, leaving behind a husband and two sons.

As deputy executive director of the Next Generation 911 Institute, Carla did much to promote education and awareness about 911 throughout the year, and the Gala was her expression of love for the 911 community. Always shy about being in the limelight, she worked so hard behind the scenes to ensure that 911 telecommunicators receive the recognition and attention they deserve in front of key leaders in industry and government.

At this year’s event, Laurie Flaherty, program manager of the National 911 Office, delivered an inspiring message that honored the spirit of telecommunicators and their biggest supporter, Carla. An annual award called “The Heart of 911” was created, with the first one given to Carla’s family in recognition of all they did to support Carla’s efforts as she commuted between her home in North Dakota; Washington, D.C.; and around the world, telling the story of 911.

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