Emergency Responders Take Home Awards

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Several Hoosier emergency responders have received statewide recognition for their service to the community. The Indiana Emergency Response Conference awards included categories such as fire chief of the year, medical director of the year and life support provider of the year. September 12, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Emergency Response Conference (IERC) has presented its annual awards. The conference is for firefighters, emergency medical services, law enforcement, hazardous materials professionals, special operations and those who are part of Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs).

The IERC was planned by the Indiana Fire Chiefs Association, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Public Safety Medical.

Nominations can be made by any emergency response personnel, or other person that has been aided by a department they are nominating. Narrative about the recipients has been taken from nomination applications.

Ambulance Provider Public Relations Award: Harrison County Hospital EMS.

The Ambulance Provider Public Relations Award recognizes those who help the public better understand the EMS system and industry.

Harrison County Hospital promotes its EMS from the youngest to the oldest. The service visits daycares and kindergartens around the county to let children know that EMTs are friends. Harrison County Hospital also assists in training and education for local high school and college students, allowing students to perform needed ride time with the service. Workers participate in bingo with the elderly with prizes of pill dispensers, medical history alert sheets as well as answering questions.

Dispatcher of the Year: Rita Hughes; Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, Fort Wayne, IN.

The Dispatcher of the Year award can recognize either years of service or outstanding performance relating to a specific emergency event.

On September 9, 2012, an ambulance managed by Rita Hughes found itself under gunfire. Hughes quickly and calmly notified police and relayed crucial information. She also directed others in the dispatch center to perform their duties to maintain normal operations and responses.

EMS Advance Life Support Provider of the Year (non-fire department based): Memorial Hospital Ambulance, Dubois County.

The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry.

When EMS announced that the Intermediate level of care was being discontinued, Memorial Hospital Ambulance in Dubois County took quick action to bridge its intermediate technicians to the next level, paramedic. The service also provides mutual aid to other services in times of ambulance shortages.

EMS Advance Life Support Provider of the Year (fire department based): Penn Township Fire Department, Mishawaka.

The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry.

The Penn Township Fire Department upgraded its services to Advanced Life Support (ALS), cutting in half response times for incidents requiring ALS services. Save rates and customer satisfaction have also increased, and other departments have started to rely on Penn Township due to its central location.

EMS Basic Life Support Provider of the Year: Evansville Fire Department.

The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry.

Continuous training, community activities, special programs, interagency cooperation and disaster planning are all aspects that the department focuses on. Additionally, the Evansville Fire Department continues to be a charitable department, donating more than $28,000 to the United Way and collecting toys for less fortunate children in the community. The department also offers financial incentives for those who obtain degrees for fire- or EMS-related fields.

Fire Chief of the Year (Career): Chief Danny Sink, Goshen Fire Department, Goshen.

Nominees for this award must be actively involved in fire organizations, fire prevention education, training and safety improvement.

Chief Sink began his public safety career in 1981. Throughout his entire career, he has remained a steadfast participant in many organizations, including the Elkhart County Dispatch Advisory Board. He also serves as the Chairman of the Indiana Fire Alliance, which unites fire associations in the state, ensuring that the needs of all firefighters in Indiana are met.

Fire Chief of the Year (Volunteer): Chief Christopher See, Jeff-Craig Fire & Rescue, Vevay, IN.

Nominees for this award must be actively involved in fire organizations, fire prevention education, training and safety improvement.

See is a 12-year veteran of fire service, serving six of those years with the Jeff-Craig Fire Department. After See taught Firefighter 1 & 2 courses in 2008, the Department had 16 members on its roster; now, he currently leads a 49-member volunteer fire department that responded to more than 500 emergency calls in 2012. Chief See reduced Vevay’s ISO rating so residents would see a drop in insurance premiums. See also served as an Incident Commander in 2012 to many calls including a fire in a retirement home, flash flood damage and an oxygen explosion in an assisted living complex.

Fire Instructor of the Year: Steffen Schrock, Goshen Fire Department, Goshen.

This award recognizes an individual who has made Indiana’s fire service training safer, more effective and more professional.

Steffen Schrock of the Goshen Fire Department received the award for his continued dedication to fire instruction. His commitment to teaching firefighters not only in his whole department, but across his district has set a high bar for public safety educators.

Fire Instructor of the Year: District 7 Fire Training Council/John Shafer.

This award recognizes a division that has made Indiana’s fire service training safer, more effective and more professional.

District 7 Fire Instructors lead by example. They set clear objectives while involving their instructors in developing strategies and tactics. This comprehensive approach helps the district achieve a professional and efficient fire training system.

Heroic Rescue of the Year Award: Diane Lantz, Jeromy Yadon, Three Rivers Ambulance Authority; and Eric Zeiger, Fort Wayne Fire Department (all three for one incident).

This award is presented to EMS personnel who were actively involved in a rescue operation involving a victim in a dangerous environment. To be considered, the candidates must have demonstrated a degree of courage and bravery while showing an understanding of the seriousness of the situation.

Diane Lantz, Jeromy Yadon and Eric Zeiger were caring for a patient on September 9, 2012, when their ambulance was fired upon. Lantz and Yadon continued to treat their patient in the midst of the gunfire. Yadon sustained minor injuries. Zeiger drove the ambulance to the trauma center while obtaining information to relay to the dispatcher, Rita Hughes, who received the Dispatcher of the Year award for the same incident.

Basic EMT of the Year: Chris McFarlan, Van Buren Township Fire Department, Bloomington, IN.

The award represents the best the industry has to offer; not only in proficiency, but in professionalism.

In September 2012, Chris McFarlan was dispatched to a report of a male lying on the ground. When he arrived, he discovered that the man was having an allergic reaction to a bee sting, with his color going from a grey to purple and pupils becoming dilated. McFarlan recognized this as a life or death situation and quickly administered an Epi-Pen. The patient had significantly improved by the time that the Advanced Life Support unit arriv