EMS Strong 2018

Page 1

EMS WEEK 2018 MAY 20-26



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES Director: Shaun St. Germain Medical Director: Matt Sholl, MD Asst. Medical Director: Kate Zimmerman, DO Licensing Agent: Alan Leo Education Coordinator: Donald Sheets Licensing Agent/EMD: Jason Oko Data Coordinator: Timothy Nangle Administrative Assistant: Katie Boynton Address: 152 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0152 Phone: 207-626-3860 Fax: 207-287-6251 E-Mail: maine.ems@maine.gov Region 1: Atlantic Partners EMS Medical Director: Mike Bohanske, MD Coordinator: Rick Petrie Address: 253 Warren Ave, Portland ME 04101 Phone: 207-536-1719 Online: www.apems.org E-Mail: office@apems.org Region 2: Tri-County EMS Medical Director: Seth Ritter, MD Coordinator: Joanne Lebrun Address: 300 Main St, Lewiston ME 04240 Phone: 207-795-2880 Online: www.tricountyems.org E-Mail: lebrunj@cmhc.org Region 3: Atlantic Partners EMS Medical Director: Tim Pieh, MD Coordinator: Rick Petrie Address: 71 Halifax St, Winslow ME 04901 Phone: 207-877-0936 Online: www.apems.org E-Mail: office@apems.org Region 4: Atlantic Partners EMS Medical Director: David Saquet, DO Coordinator: Rick Petrie Address: 354 Hogan Rd, Bangor, ME 04401 Phone: 207-974-4880 Online: www.apems.org E-Mail: office@apems.org Region 5: Aroostook EMS Medical Director: Beth Collamore, MD Coordinator: Ben Zetterman Address: 111 High St, Caribou, ME 04736 Phone: 207-492-1624 Online: www.reg5ems.webs.org E-Mail: aroostookems@gmail.com Region 6: Atlantic Partners EMS Medical Director: Tracy Jalbuena, MD Coordinator: Rick Petrie Address: 6 Glen Cove Dr, Rockport, ME 04856 Phone: 207-877-0936 Online: www.apems.org E-Mail: office@apems.org

Maine EMS: stronger together. Featured on our cover, left to right: Winthrop Ambulance EMT Anthony Siderio and Paramedic Steve Baxter; Gardiner FD Chief Al Nelson; Litchfield Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Labbe; and Gardiner FF/Paramedics Lt. Richard Sieberg and Andrew Santheson. Photo by Nancy McGinnis/Communicado!

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

2018 MAINE EMS AWARDS Each year during Emergency Medical Services Week (the third week of May), the Maine EMS Board acknowledges those who have been outstanding leaders in, and contributors to, the Maine EMS system. The 2018 Award winners will be officially recognized in the annual ceremony taking place on Wednesday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm in the Hall of Flags at the State House. The event is open to the public, and all are cordially invited to attend and show support and appreciation. Following the EMS Awards Ceremony, a remembrance observance will be held. Weather permitting, it will be held on the grounds of the EMS memorial adjacent to the State House.

Maine EMS Memorial and Educational Site Established 2013 at the State Capitol in Augusta, Maine


“When you are in Augusta for the Awards ceremony, or anytime, visit our site on the Capitol grounds along State Street,” invites project founder and chair Kevin McGinnis, former Maine EMS director. “It is unlike any EMS memorial in the country, in that it has an audio feature to bring to life (through your cell phone) the story of EMS in Maine, as well as of those EMTs, paramedics and others who provide paramedicine care every day. It honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and you can hear their family, friends or colleagues describe their lives in EMS. So visit, honor and learn!” You may have noticed the construction at the site, while the second and final phase is completed. Not a single tax dollar went into this: it was truly built by EMS, for EMS! While the site may be temporarily inaccessible to visitors at times, until construction is complete, you can still check out the audio tour—from anyplace in the state of Maine— by calling 207-480-3104. You can also visit the Maine EMS Memorial & Education Project Facebook page to learn more.



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018


A cherished cellphone snapshot of Kelly Roderick and her brother Gary, taken at a family gathering on Mother’s Day 2014. She had no idea that four months later, Gary Graham would take his own life.

uicide is becoming an epidemic in Maine, says Pret Bjorn, Trauma Care Program Manager at Eastern Maine Medical Center. While there are still some trauma incidents related to vehicle crashes, hunting mishaps and farm machinery accidents, “more and more fatal traumas in Maine are intentional, not accidental. We have fewer than 20 pedestrian fatalities a year, but on average, sadly, one suicide death takes place in Maine every 36 hours.” In 2016, the most recent year for which Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics are available, there were 226 deaths by suicide in Maine. “Even if we only look at opioids,” he notes, “there has been a twelvefold increase in overdose deaths in Maine in the past 20 years (the Bangor Daily News reported 418 overdoses in 2017, compared to a total of 33 drug deaths in Maine CDC statistics for 2002).” As a result, there is a significant burden of behavioral health issues impacting EMS providers and emergency rooms here in Maine, as well as across the country. Bjorn says he and his colleagues on Maine’s state Trauma Advisory Committee (TAC) are increasingly viewing part of their role as advocates, to foster awareness and to call attention to prevention measures against suicide and other forms of self-harm. The rising trends observed across an entire spectrum of intentional, volitional self-harm behaviors, from cutting to substance abuse to attempting suicide, is clearly taking a toll on EMS providers in Maine and elsewhere. Bjorn, who earned his EMT license as a junior in high school and whose own EMS

field experience dates back to the 1980s, reflects on how much has changed since then. “Penetrating traumatic injuries (typically from a weapon such as a knife or a gun) have doubled if not tripled since I started in the field,” he reflects. He would even argue to expand the scope of the current self-harm problem to include other common but undeniably risky choices such as texting while driving, tobacco use, and even in some cases, adult onset diabetes (which has tripled in Maine since 1995) and obesity. “More than ever, it’s become a challenge trying to do your job as an EMS provider, and honor your commitment to do no harm, but finding yourself at odds with the patient you’re treating who is determined to inflict self harm and is therefore, in a sense, your adversary,” Bjorn reflects. It’s even more challenging, he continues, within the largely volunteer culture that is EMS in rural Maine. Eric Wellman, Director of the EMS department at Southern Maine Community College, echoed these concerns in an article published in MaineBiz earlier this year, which spotlighted the challenges of EMS personnel recruitment and retention in Maine. Wellman, who is also a part-time paramedic in Cape Elizabeth, described EMS as “a physically intense working environment… The job itself can hurt you, and there’s also a psychological toll.” Unfortunately, those who work in the field of public safety are statistically at a higher than average risk for suicidality. “That’s why group support and debriefing is so important,” says Bjorn. Trying to “play tough” and shrug

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018 off perceived weakness plays against admitting the problem and seeking help. And even those who seek support and assistance are not always able find it. But that has been changing for the better. National and local efforts on the part of organizations and concerned individuals are starting to make a difference toward understanding the issues around mental health and suicide prevention. These range from working to change the conversation (whether at the news anchor desk, or the kitchen table)— all the way to one-on-one crisis intervention. The Maine Chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Health, has launched programs specifically targeted to those highrisk populations such as emergency first responders who typically experience exposure to instances of self harm and mental health crises as an ongoing aspect of doing their jobs. “Through training, we aim to empower these individuals to intervene and respond appropriately and effectively,” explains Heather Carter, NAMI Maine Youth Programs Manager. It’s amazing what a powerful difference this can make, she claims, regardless of whether, in any given scenario, it contributes

to a positive outcome—or merely reduces the impact of a negative one. Among its initiatives, NAMI offers “Mental Health First Aid” training: an evidence-based public education program and prevention tool kit first developed in Australia. Similar to traditional First Aid and CPR, Mental Health First Aid is designed to provide help to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves. This approach, built around a five-step action plan, teaches participants how to assess a situation, choose and implement appropriate interventions, and secure appropriate care for an individual experiencing a mental health problem. In the training process, participants become familiar with risk factors and warning signs and gain an enhanced understanding of mental illnesses and the impact they can have on individuals, families, and communities. The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, a trade group with 1,300 member organizations serving six million Americans across the country, brought Mental Health First Aid to the United

States with the goal of making it as common as traditional First Aid and CPR are today. Training participants represent all walks of life including EMS and other public safety fields, health care, education, faith-based communities, and interested citizens. The 12-hour training program has been demonstrated to improve people’s mental health, increase understanding of mental health issues and treatments, connect more people with needed care, and reduce the stigma of mental illness. NAMI has obtained federal grant funding to launch trainings specifically targeted for EMS personnel in Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties—(areas of Maine identified as highest need, with the least available resources). One of their key presenters is Kelly Graham Roderick of Atlantic Partners EMS (APEMS) in Waterville. “Kelly has been an amazing champion of suicide awareness and prevention,” says Carter. Roderick has completed EMT certification and worked in emergency medical services administration at APEMS for 26 years, and has served as a member of their Critical Incident Stress Management


Kelly Roderick of Atlantic Partners EMS says that nothing in her two decades of Critical Incident Stress Management training and experience prepared her for losing her brother to suicide in 2014. To honor his memory, she now volunteers as a suicide awareness and prevention speaker and trainer.

(CISM) team for the past two decades. Her 56-year-old brother Gary Graham took his own life in September of 2014. “Being on the other side gave me a whole


MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

new perspective. And a lot of unanswered questions. What do I do? How do I handle this? With my years of EMS and CISM experience, I felt like I should “get it”—but I didn’t,” says Roderick, with remarkable grit and candor. In hindsight, she realizes that she had always looked at CISM as related to a specific, definitive traumatic incident. But her brother’s suicide was the culmination of a struggle that she now realizes had been ongoing for decades. In fact, it was Kelly who had found and rescued Gary when he unsuccessfully attempted suicide 30 years earlier. “It’s hard to think back to how I processed that, at the time,” she says. “I know now that I was angry-- my attitude was “how dare you do this to me?” A loved one’s attempted suicide is not typical dinner table conversation, Roderick acknowledges. “Like many families, we avoided talking about it. Gary’s troubled life became a secret, stashed away in the back of a drawer that was never opened.” And from a practical viewpoint, many hesitate to bring up the subject, to suggest or seek help, for fear that calling attention to mental instability could threaten livelihoods and relationships.

In the days, weeks and months after her brother’s untimely death, Roderick struggled to find resources and heal. Her family members still didn’t talk about Gary’s troubles, or his suicide. Roderick tried counseling but realized after a few sessions that it was not meeting her needs, even though she couldn’t find the words to articulate them. She tried to find a support group to join, but was told that none existed “because not enough suicides had occurred yet to start one.” One day while getting a prescription filled, Roderick picked up a NAMI Maine business card from a small stack on the pharmacy counter. “Have you thought about or tried suicide? Do you know someone who needs help?” it read. With nothing to lose, Roderick contacted NAMI. Little did she realize it was to be a lifechanging connection. “Thanks to NAMI, I not only found the support I needed, but I also received the tools and training to help others. I have made it my mission, to honor my brother. I sit on the NAMI speakers’ bureau and tell my story, and Gary’s, too.” To address the gap she herself faced, she is also training to be a group facilitator through Hospice Services of

the Waterville Area, in order to help others impacted by suicide. “I’ve already made it through all the firsts—family holidays, birthdays, anniversaries… three times, now. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I faced, alone.” While suicide, when it occurs, inevitably leaves an aftermath to be reckoned with, Roderick points out that suicide is not inevitable. Part of her mission is to spread the word that there is help available to learn how to recognize the warning signs, and what to do or say. “I want everyone to know that reaching out is not necessarily overbearing and intrusive,” she says. It could be lifesaving. After a period of awkwardness and estrangement following her brother Gary’s first suicide attempt, Roderick recalls, “the ripples died down, and it seemed like he rebuilt his life and we reconnected. He was a devoted dad, a true friend, a talented carpenter. But then his wife became terminally ill, and with her death his struggles began again. I don’t know everything that was going on, but I sense that he tried to isolate himself in order to protect and spare others.” Roderick now

knows his world spiraled downward from the last time she saw him, in May, until he took his life in September. “He never asked for help, he just told me how bad things were,” she remembers ruefully. “We would text back and forth, because it seemed safer for both of us than trying to have a conversation, she reflects. “I was always worried. Would I say the wrong thing, and end up making him more upset or alienated?” “Help me,” was the last text she received from her brother, three days before his death. She was uncomfortable, she remembers— she felt unnerved, but at a loss how to react. Was he just being dramatic? Should she give him some space and let him calm down, work things out, and then try to have a conversation? In the end, she never responded. In a very real sense, Roderick’s commitment to do everything she can to prevent suicide and to build awareness is how she has chosen to answer that plea for help. “In just the past two years,” she says, “my own quiet little hometown of Oakland has had four suicides: two teenagers, a law enforcement officer, and a businessman. My mission, to honor my brother Gary’s life, is for no one to live with the pain of knowing someone who died by suicide.”

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018




n November 3, 2017, the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) State Partnership Program. The aim of the EMSC Program is to “reduce childhood death and disability caused by severe illness or injury”. This program offers states funding to implement the EMSC performance measures. Maine EMS received notice on March 25, 2018 that their grant proposal had received funding for April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2022. In the upcoming months, Maine EMS will be working to fill an EMSC Advisory Committee and begin the process of building the program. There is

a total of nine performance measures to implement. This spring, Maine EMS will be reaching out to hospitals with a 24/7 Emergency Department to complete surveying for performance measures six and seven which cover pediatric components in interfacility transfer guidelines and agreements. As the Maine EMSC program gets off the ground, keep an eye out for outreach events, educational opportunities, and more! Maine EMS is very excited to work towards improved care of pediatric patients through the implementation of EMSC priorities. If you are interested in learning more about the program or think you may wish to be involved, please contact Maine EMS.



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018




rexell White is humbled to think of being among those who have received this award before him. He was the highlyrespected EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) Program Manager at Maine EMS when he left in 2016 for new learning opportunities as a district health liaison with the Maine CDC, based in Rockport. White says he “backed into EMS” when he tagged along with an old high school buddy to an advanced first aid class. He went on to earn his Licensed Ambulance Attendant certification in 1981, and became an EMT in 1983. After his MAST/EOA [the now obsolete Military Anti-Shock Trousers/Esophageal Obturator Airway] certification, to further his training he then enrolled at NH Technical Institute because there was no Paramedic program in the state of Maine at that time. Upon graduation in 1986, he was hired as the Director of Searsport Ambulance, but made arrangements to practice with Winthrop Ambulance as well, since there were no Paramedic protocols in the midcoast region. White’s long career with Maine EMS

started back in 1990, when he was hired as Licensing Agent. He was guided by his personal experience as he helped with developing and launching the first set of uniform protocols, transitioning from a regional to a consistent statewide approach to the delivery of emergency medical services. When it comes to contributions, White considers himself a team player, but he was instrumental in continuing efforts to make EMS training and the state licensing and renewal process more effective and user-friendly. He thinks back to what he describes as “the early, Wild West days of EMS, when there were times we flew by the seat of our pants. At the end of the day, I was just another player in the system, but we were good people trying to do good work, motivated by knowing that what we did ultimately mattered in people’s lives.” Reflecting on his 16 years with Maine EMS, White is proudest of how he always aspired to be available and accessible, a problem solver: “let’s sit down and see how we can make this work.” He credits his boss, former Maine EMS Director Kevin McGinnis, for setting the bar, by instilling a philosophy and creating a culture of “facilitate first, regulate second.” Current Maine EMS Education Coordinator Don Sheets, who worked with White at Maine EMS for four years, says, “Drexell stands out for his wisdom and experience. Even now that he has left our office, he still makes himself available to us when needed, to answer institutional questions. He is a shining and steadfast example of a thoughtful and deliberate individual who has the ability to pause in the midst of chaos, cut through the noise, and work with people, even in a regulatory environment, to look for solutions and convince them to do the right thing.”


hile it’s notable that EMS has been Lee Ireland’s calling for almost three decades, it’s even more remarkable that he has spent all of those years with the same ambulance service. He started as a Basic EMT with Delta’s Farmington-based operation in 1991, he says, and “I grew along with the service, as it was transformed over the years and eventually became NorthStar.” Initially, with his young family and a commitment to his family business, “he promised the service one year,” wrote Carol Pillsbury, who submitted his award nomination. “Here we are in 2018, and he’s still here, and our Operations Manager.” At the beginning, he had no idea that was in store. Ireland vividly recalls a pivotal event back in 1990 that set him on this path: he had recently completed citizen CPR training when a neighbor down the road raced into his dooryard, imploring him to come help the friend’s father who had been pinned in a skid steer accident. Ireland raced back to the scene with him and proceeded to perform CPR for all he was worth. “Then I felt a light hand on my shoulder, and looked up to see a Paramedic reassuring me that I was doing a great job. Together she and I continued CPR on the patient en route to the hospital… and I learned her name was Carol Pillsbury. It was she who convinced me I would make a great EMT and should enroll in a class she was about to start teaching. I did, and it turned out her

assistant was fellow 2018 EMS award winner Conley Gould!” Ireland earned his Paramedic license just two years later. While he’s grateful for this award recognition, Ireland is quick to give credit to Carol, Conley, and the many, many fine individuals he has worked with and for over the years, insisting that EMS is a team effort. An example is the mass casualty incident drill he helped to orchestrate at the University of Maine at Farmington a few years ago, staging an active shooter scenario in which every EMS, fire and law enforcement agency in the county took part. Ireland is justifiably proud of establishing the first active First Responder service in Franklin County with a handful of his colleagues: “there are eight of us, including three paramedics, in our little community of Industry, Maine, with a population of about 800.” Becoming First Responders, he explains, allows local fire department personnel to work together, expand their skills and put them to use more often than they would by responding to fire calls alone. Pillsbury cites Ireland’s contagious enthusiasm as the reason why there are now 12 active First Responder services in the NorthStar Ambulance coverage area. Ireland also helped to establish the Maine chapter of EMS Road Docs, a national organization of active and retired EMS and other healthcare personnel who also happen to be motorcycle enthusiasts. Members share a passion for their profession, for helping those in need in their communities, and also for demonstrating good riding etiquette on the road. Through a benefit supper and a GoFundMe page, Ireland and his local Road Docs colleagues raised $10,000 for materials and then built a wheelchair ramp for a former paramedic.

On their road trip to the Capital to see their friend, paramedic Carol Pillsbury, receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Maine EMS ceremony last year, Lee Ireland and his Road Docs buddies paid a visit to another longtime friend and now-retired coworker, Conley Gould. Both Ireland and Conley are being recognized by Maine EMS this year. L to R: Peter Wade, Rod Koehn, Conley Gould, Lee Ireland, and Robert Fox.

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018


absolutely love what I do,” says Berta Broomhall, recalling that when she started volunteering with Bethel Rescue after taking a First Aid/ CPR class in 1990, she made a promise that she would continue to help out there as much as she could, even if she started working elsewhere. Three years later, having earned her EMT certification, she took a full time position at Mexico-based Med-Care Ambulance, where she remains today, now a Paramedic, and QI (Quality Improvement) Coordinator. And indeed, 28 years later, she still volunteers with Bethel, where she serves as Assistant Deputy Chief. David Hanscom, Bethel Ambulance Chief, nominated Broomhall for the award not only in recognition of her loyal service, leadership and guidance, but also for her community outreach efforts. She is an American Heart Association BLS (Basic Life Support) instructor, and through attending national conferences has become involved with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association and an organization known as Parent Heart Watch, underscoring the need for laypersons to know how to do CPR and the importance of screening for early warning signs of cardiac arrest. Notably, thanks to an effort spearheaded by Broomhall, the entire local high school sophomore class has been certified in CPR. She has also been working with area fire departments and others to get AED’s




(Automated External Defibrillators) placed in schools and other venues where people gather, and “to familiarize the non-EMS person with how easy they are to use,” she says. “Often, my biggest challenge is convincing people that while an AED can save a life if needed, using one can do no harm if it’s not.” Since 2016, Broomhall has been the Coordinator of Med-Care’s Community Paramedicine (CP) program. “I’m passionate about CP, because it’s proven to be so beneficial and so needed in this rural area,” she says. Through this initiative, for which she hopes to find a funding source to continue and expand, Broomhall and her EMS personnel make themselves available to patients who are discharged from the hospital with illnesses such as congestive heart failure or new onset diabetes, or whose doctors have diagnosed them with high blood pressure or other conditions. “Working around our emergency calls, we make regular visits to their home, helping them understand and follow their doctor’s directions, make sure they are taking their medications correctly and eating well, monitoring their blood pressure and glucose levels. We have a lot of elderly residents in the eleven towns in our service area. Another challenge to wellness is literacy. Many individuals who don’t qualify for Home Health may still be in need of the services we are able to provide through CP.” “When I started out in EMS, most of the people I worked with were older than me. It’s funny that I’m now seen as the elder, the voice of wisdom and experience. The most important advice I would give an EMS provider of any age is to remember the human element. Exceptional care is more than good skills and the right equipment. There’s always a need for communication, respect and compassion.”

southern Maine, filling a need that was later taken over by LifeFlight. Theirs was also the first fleet to acquire a bariatric ambulance, a modified vehicle with an extra wide interior and specialized lifting equipment to accommodate extremely obese patients. Among his various professional activities, Brockway sits on the Board of Directors for Medtrans Insurance Company, and is a past board member of the MidCoast EMS Council, and has served as past President of the Board of Directors of Atlantic Partners EMS. He is an active member of the American Ambulance Association, and a founding member and past officer of the Maine Ambulance Association. Over the years, Brockway has developed a keen interest in the reimbursement side of EMS—and looking back is bittersweet. “My greatest disappointment is that even after 30 years in a management and administrative role, I haven’t yet succeeded at convincing state and federal legislators that EMS remains critically underfunded. Too often, our crew members go from one shift at one service to another shift at a second service, just for a decent living wage to make ends meet. The industry is in a precarious position. If money isn’t coming in, then there’s no money to pay out.” Kevin McGinnis, who has been an EMS system builder since 1984, a service chief and active field paramedic as well as former Maine EMS Director, said: “In my 30 years in Maine EMS, I can think of no one who has had a more quietly graceful and yet powerful impact on our system. From his involvement on the Maine EMS Board to his influence in ambulance association and regional councils, Dennis Brockway’s presence in Maine EMS will continue to resonate for years to come.”


ennis Brockway’s illustrious career in the field of emergency medical services began as a part-time job when he was 16 years old, working as a Licensed Ambulance Attendant with Arrow Ambulance in Waterville back in 1971. “That was the only certification that existed at the time, other than Advanced First Aid,” he recalls. By 1972 he had earned his EMT license. He performed CPR on his very first call, and remembers helping to deliver a baby when he was just 18. “I’ve always enjoyed EMS as a crew member. It’s rewarding, helping people—I think of it as doing God’s work,” he says. Arrow was eventually sold to Seton Hospital, and later became Delta Ambulance, now one of Maine’s largest not-for-profit ambulance services. Brockway would spend 18 years in the field, working his way up to Paramedic. He rose to Paramedic Supervisor at Delta, then Associate Director, and eventually Director of the service. Under his leadership, Delta was the first ambulance service to offer neonatal transport service. Its service area was also expanded beyond Waterville to include Augusta and Farmington. In 1999, Brockway partnered with Charles McCarthy to launch Scarborough-based North East Mobile Health Services, now the largest Paramedic service in the state of Maine. North East established the first critical care ground transport service in


MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018




eninsula Ambulance Service (PAC) is bidding farewell to their longtime manager, Paramedic Geoffrey Miller, this year. Miller feels he has simply been doing his job and doing what is right over the past 32 years, but his colleagues and community members are grateful for his exemplary dedication and quest for excellence. PAC currently serves seven towns including Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Penobscot, Sedgwick, and Surry; and responds to between 1,000-1,200 calls each year. Since childhood, he recalls, Miller was always interested in medicine. And he has always been something of a pioneer. “As a kid in Junior High School, I volunteered at St. Joseph’s Hospital. All the other teenage volunteers were girls—“candy stripers” as they were called at that time. I got no small amount of grief for being the only boy!” Over the past three decades, PAC has gradually evolved from a wholly volunteer operation to a service offering fully staffed 24/7 coverage with two ambulances. Since joining PAC as a volunteer AEMT in 1986, Miller, now a paramedic and the manager of PAC, not only witnessed and experienced this necessary transformation, he was also instrumental in making it happen. In nominating her colleague for an award, PAC Paramedic Theresa Cousins, who has worked by Miller’s side since 2002, cited his diligence and tireless efforts to make PAC a leader in workplace education (with costs underwritten by PAC for all its employees); and a role model in the state in such areas as Medicare compliance. By 1990, Miller explains, economic pressures made it very challenging to sustain

a volunteer ambulance service, especially to find coverage during the daytime. Miller was hired that year, as one of PAC’s first two paid employees. He never left. After Miller became a full-time paid employee at PAC, for a period of about a decade he was the sole person who was physically at the station, ten hours a day, five days a week. A volunteer would serve as his partner to respond to calls as needed, when and if they arose. “It took the ambulance service more than a decade to fully transition,” Miller recalls. He eventually took on administrative responsibilities such as payroll and billing. But Miller also took pains to maintain his certifications and was always aspiring to expand his own EMS education. He was one of the area’s first paramedics, and a familiar face in the community as an instructor for EMT, AEMT, and EMT-P programs. “When I graduated from paramedic school in ‘94, we were not even using aspirin [in the protocols followed for cardiac incidents] yet!” Miller acknowledges the ongoing need to keep up with the times and maintain best practices, as an individual EMS practitioner and as an ambulance service. “Every time a federal regulation or state rule came out, I’d jump on it and start preparing to meet the requirements,” Miller reflects. “We had an infection control plan in place to address bloodborne pathogens, and we were ready for Medicare and implementing HIPPA compliance when they came along. I also made it a point to keep all of our records shipshape, all the time. “ Miller has long been an active member of the Maine Ambulance Association, currently serving as its Secretary. He sits on the advisory committee of the Paramedic Program at Eastern Maine Community College. Miller will retire from Peninsula Ambulance Corps the same week that he receives the EMS Award. “Thirty two years is a long time,” he reflects. He has decided to step down to be able to devote himself full time to the pottery business he launched in 2010, Lowell Hill Pottery in Penobscot.


s a young man, Conley Gould joined the local Fire Department shortly after returning home from a four-year stint in the Air Force. The FD Chief asked his crew members to consider signing up for the Licensed Ambulance Attendant class, Gould recalls, to help out the struggling ambulance department. Of the dozen who did so, Gould alone continued over the years with his EMS training, rising up through the ranks all the way to Paramedic. He went on to work full time for the various ambulance services serving the greater Farmington area at one time or another, from Keegan to NorthStar, a regional ambulance service currently operated by Franklin Memorial Hospital. All told, his EMS career spanned 40 years—and undoubtedly would have continued even longer had he not been sidelined by illness last year. In nominating her former employee and longtime colleague for an EMS award, Paramedic Carol Pillsbury wrote, “Conley has always been the true EMS provider: loving his

profession, caring for his patients, and giving of himself.” One example of the lengths to which Conley Gould has gone: in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, Gould took two weeks of his own vacation time to accompany a Mt. Blue HS carpentry class to Florida on a work trip to Florida. The students’ mission was to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild the devastated area. Gould was there to teach first aid skills to the locals and to render first aid as needed, and to help with the reconstruction when he could. He even repeated his selfless gesture the following year. For years, Gould shared his knowledge and provided first aid training for the forestry students at Foster Career and Technical Education Center, and then accompanied them at their annual state logging competition, where he served as the medic on site for the entire group. In addition to his EMS career, Gould’s lifelong passion for public service led him to work part-time as a reserve officer for the Farmington Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff, and he’s proud to have served his hometown of Chesterville as a firefighter for 15 or 20 years. Through his dedication, professionalism and generosity, says Pillsbury, Conley Gould has not only left his mark, but also earned the sincere respect and heartfelt affection of “just about everyone in Franklin County.”

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018



dvanced EMT Nancy Parritt’s entire adult life has been devoted to taking care of people. After ten years working as a CNA in the local nursing home, she began her EMS career with Petit Manan Ambulance in Milbridge—and 40 years later, she’s still at it, as dedicated as ever. Her award nomination was submitted by a fellow EMS provider—none other than her granddaughter, Megan, an EMT who is sometimes Nancy’s partner on EMS calls. Megan vividly recalls the fun rush of excitement as a little girl waving from the ambulance with her grandmother in the town parade, as well as the many somber times her adrenaline would rush whenever the ambulance phone rang, and her grandmother would be out the door to help a neighbor in need. Nancy Parritt not only inspired Megan but also encouraged her, helping her enroll in continuing education classes to earn her EMT certification at Washington County Community College. Megan has arranged for a day off from work on May 23rd: nothing would keep her from accompanying her grandmother to the Awards ceremony at the State House. As the Service Representative at Petit Manan Ambulance, the elder Parritt supervises a small group of responders. More hands on deck would be most welcome. “There are eleven who have stuck with us, fitting in hours whenever they can around their other commitments. We used to have more personnel, which gave us more of a

chance to take turns. Because of their dedication we are still rarely obliged to be out of service, unless there is an issue with our ambulance.” Parritt more than likely responds herself, typically six days a week, to many of the emergency and non-emergency transfer calls that are dispatched by the Regional Communications Center directly to her home phone in Steuben. In fact, Parritt was unavailable when she was first contacted for an interview about the EMS award because she was out responding to a call. The 400-500 calls directed to Petit Manan Ambulance each year range from illnesses and falls, car crashes and heart attacks, to drug overdoses, to nursing home transfers. It can be demanding and discouraging at times, admits Parritt, who is a familiar face to many who have benefited from the services of Petit Manan Ambulance in this small, close knit community. Nancy Parritt was on duty the night her daughter Jennifer, who is the Petit Manan dispatcher, called to relay the information from own brother’s 9-1-1 call. He had just happened on a car accident involving his own daughter— Megan’s then 15-year-old cousin. Still, Nancy set aside her own emotions and handled the call with utmost professionalism, says Megan, until her colleagues arrived, insisting on relieving her, so that Nancy could simply focus on being a grandmother on that devastating day. In her “spare time” these days, when she’s not on call, Parritt is often in the office handling the billing, and working on fundraising towards a much-needed replacement ambulance. And for a pleasant change of pace, Parritt and her crew enjoy visiting the local school, giving students a chance to tour the ambulance and running a sample EKG strip so that kids can marvel at their own heartbeat… and perhaps be inspired, like Megan, to become an EMS provider when they grow up.



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018 The Ogden family LAURA LEE PHOTOGRAPHY



enna Ogden is the first to acknowledge her “Type A” personality: an organized young mom who proactively plans so that everything proceeds in a smooth fashion, as expected. But last December, on the day her second baby was born, nothing went as predicted. Nonetheless, thanks in part to the seen and unseen team efforts of Maine public safety providers, the story had a happy ending. Though her due date was still a week off, Ogden remembers suspecting “today might be the day” early in the morning of December 30. Recalling how she had spent 26 hours in labor preceding the birth of her first child, now four-year-old Emmett, Jenna reassured herself that she had plenty of time. She double-checked that a copy of her birthing plan, with all her choices and preferences neatly typed up in advance, was handy in her hospital bag, and prepared breakfast for her son. Together they stomped down Christmas boxes, and then her husband Eric ran her a soothing hot bath, where she relaxed and listened to meditation CD’s. His parents arrived at noon for a belated family Christmas

gathering at their Winslow home, postponed due to the blizzard earlier in the week. “It was fortunate that my in-laws were there to look after Emmett, because by that time the contractions were so strong and frequent that we called Maine General [Medical Center in Augusta] to alert the doctor that Eric and I were on our way in,” says Jenna. The thermometer read seven degrees—the kind of Maine winter day that makes one thankful for an auto ignition starter—but somehow, the keys got locked inside the family’s van. Jenna recalls how her in-laws supported her, keeping her upright as she leaned against the van in the frigid cold, while Eric raced back into the house for the spare keys and an extra towel. They set out for Augusta. But just ten minutes into the 25 minute drive, Jenna’s water broke. They pulled off the Interstate at the West River Road exit, and she told her husband to call 9-1-1. “So much for that birthing plan. All of a sudden, my body was telling me it was time for this baby to be born,” Jenna recalls.

“Thank goodness the person at the other end of the 9-1-1 call was calm and reassuring. She explained how we were going to focus on the breathing to slow down the contractions and delay the baby’s arrival until help arrived—and gave us tremendous peace of mind by letting us know that both an ambulance and fire truck were already on the way.” The fire rescue truck did indeed arrive—and it continued right past the Ogdens. But because the responders were also in constant contact with the Waterville Regional Communications Dispatch center, within only a few seconds they had turned back and arrived at the scene. The responders were looking for a vehicle stopped along the side of Trafton Road, though Eric had actually pulled off the road into a commercial parking lot. When they were advised of a woman in active labor just off the Interstate, the Waterville FD Rescue first responder crew had not been at their station, but had just completed another call, some distance away. “We raced to the scene. I remember it was such a miserably cold day, and when we arrived we

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018 were immediately concerned about both the mom and her infant being dangerously exposed to the cold,” says Waterville EMT Dan Brown. By now the Delta crew had also arrived, and at that point dispatch handed over the call to the personnel at the scene. Delta Paramedic Mark DeRocher quickly assessed the situation, and together the EMS team helped Jenna out of the van onto a stretcher, and then whisked her into the warmth and privacy of the back of the ambulance. They coached her through the contractions, her knees drawn toward her chest. “A few pushes, and the baby was out,” she recalls. Everything happened so fast that much of the next few minutes was a blur. But she remembers “the EMS folks took charge, and everyone was friendly, kind and reassuring. Which was great, because at that point I really wasn’t thinking.” Within moments, baby Landon—cold, wet, but apparently healthy—was gently toweled off and placed on Jenna’s chest. With Jenna in shock and the newborn hypothermic, they diverted to the nearest medical facility, Inland Hospital. On their arrival, mom and baby were warmly greeted by a small crowd of clapping, cheering hospital staff. Eric, who had followed the ambulance to the hospital in their van, joined his wife and newborn son. Amber Brown, a labor and delivery nurse at Inland, also happens to be the wife of EMT Dan Brown. “Amber had just recently come in to the Station to provide us some in-service training on emergency deliveries,” he says, recalling how his wife had borrowed several of their young daughter’s baby dolls so that Dan and his colleagues could have hands-on

practice. Amber presented him with a stork pin after this call, his first emergency delivery. Although DeRocher is a seasoned EMS professional, it was also his first time responding to an emergency childbirth. Like Brown, he acknowledges that “Jenna had the hardest part”—and she handled it admirably. And props to Jenna’s husband Eric. “He was white as a ghost when we arrived,” recalls Brown, but it was Eric who had made the all-important 9-1-1 call, and was there to offer practical and emotional support to his wife, with guidance over the phone from the emergency dispatch personnel, until EMS arrived. He had been at Jenna’s side for the birth of their first son, but that was in a hospital setting, surrounded by professionals who were clearly in charge, and had access to all kinds of resources. This time was very different. “Jenna’s husband did a great job that day,” says Sarah Batteese, the Public Safety Dispatcher who fielded this call when it came in to the Waterville Regional Communications Dispatch Center. She explains that Eric’s initial 9-1-1 call was received by personnel at Somerset County Communications, one of Maine’s PSAP’s [Public Safety Answering Points] in Skowhegan, who swiftly determined the nature and location of the emergency

(Below) Public Safety Dispatchers Brandy Stanton (L) and Sarah Batteese worked together as a team, behind the scenes at Waterville Regional Communications Center, to contribute to the successful emergency delivery of Jenna Ogden’s baby Landon before arrival at the hospital.

before connecting Eric with the dispatcher at Waterville Comm. As Batteese remained on the line with Eric, at a nearby console her alert colleague, Public Safety Dispatcher Brandy Stanton, was dispatching Waterville FD and Delta Ambulance crews to the scene. “People may not realize it, but it’s helpful to know that when you call 9-1-1, even though you’re understandably eager to tell us all about the situation at hand, our very first priority is always to confirm your location and get a call back number,” she explains. That way, if communication is cut off for any reason, efforts can be made to reconnect and meanwhile, in any case, help can be dispatched. Next in importance is to determine the nature of the emergency, to fine-tune the response. To accomplish their mission, Batteese and her colleagues adhere strictly to a proven, precise system of Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols specifically developed for answering 9-1-1 calls. This systematic, comprehensive approach minimizes confusion in an often chaotic, emotionally charged setting, while assuring the right emergency response to the right place at the right time. The dispatchers’ ongoing professional training includes deescalation techniques, addressing how to calm and reassure a caller so that he or she


can successfully be talked through whatever needs to be done at the scene. Batteese tries to be empathetic with callers, without becoming emotional herself. “I always bear in mind that an individual who is calling 9-1-1 is having an emergency,” she says. It helps that Batteese, like many other public safety dispatchers, has also worked as a firefighter (celebrating her 20th year with China Fire Department this year) and before that, worked with Veazie Fire Department, where she earned her Basic EMT certification. Her past training and field experience can often help her visualize the scene at the other end of the 9-1-1 call. Since a dispatcher’s focus is on providing pre-arrival instructions, once EMS had arrived on scene, Batteese signed off from Eric’s call to await the next caller in need of help. “Dispatchers are intensely involved from the time the call comes in until the emergency responder crew arrives, but we typically don’t get to learn the ultimate outcome, in most cases.” It was rewarding to learn that all had gone well this time. And Jenna Ogden and her husband Eric are delighted—despite the fact that the arrival of their second son could hardly have diverged further from her carefully crafted advance plan. Looking back, they are immeasurably grateful for the existence of a skilled, trained and compassionate team of professionals on the scene and behind the scene. “Before Landon’s birth, I’d never in my entire life been inside an ambulance. We’d never ever had an occasion to call 9-1-1,” says Jenna. We never expected to need EMS that day – but we are so thankful they were there for us, when we did.”

(Above) Giving birth in a parking lot just off the Interstate was certainly not part of Jenna Ogden’s birthing plan—but thanks to her husband’s 9-1-1 call and the EMS team effort, the outcome was happy.


MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018 Shapleigh Rescue training.



hapleigh Rescue crew members responded to just under 300 calls last year. That’s impressive, given that there are only 15 individuals on the roster. Most of them are firefighters as well. The service is licensed at the Basic EMT level, and permitted by Maine EMS to operate at the Paramedic level when personnel with the requisite certification are responding. With their 2012 Ford ambulance, Shapleigh Rescue provides response coverage for the town of Shapleigh, with a year round population of 3,500 that swells as high as 10,000 in the summer. The calls range from falls to cardiac arrest, says Mike Deshaies, an Advanced EMT now working towards his paramedic

certification, who has served as Chief of Shapleigh Rescue for the past three and a half years. Not surprisingly for this location, a number of emergencies happen on the water—mostly, but not exclusively, in the summertime. “The other day, we rescued a guy who had managed to become stranded in his kayak, stuck on a chunk of ice,” Deshaies said in a recent interview at the tail end of the spring thaw. It’s remarkable that only once in the past two years has mutual aid has been required to step in and handle a call on behalf of Shapleigh, says Deshaies, reflecting on the challenges of keeping a small community rescue service in operation. When they

are not responding to calls, Shapleigh Rescue members strive to remain active and visible in the community, offering CPR and AED classes for the public, and cohosting an annual late summer open house with other local public safety agencies. Their hands-on educational “bootcamp”, with ropes and backboards, is consistently one of the most popular choices of those offered to the students at Shapleigh Elementary School’s monthly “Career Connections” days. “We’re always looking to recruit future members,” says Deshaies, “but our primary goal is to make sure that everyone is aware that Shapleigh Rescue is here to help.”

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018



orthStar is a Franklin Memorial Hospital-based regional ambulance service, covering about 2,800 square miles sprawling across five counties, from Livermore to the Canadian border to the New Hampshire border. “It adds up to over 8% of the state of Maine,” says NorthStar director and paramedic Mike Senecal. The 40,000 year-round area population grows by another seven to eight thousand in the summer tourism and peak outdoor recreation season, and by as much as 10,000 during the Sugarloaf ski season. There are 77 individuals on the roster; 44 of them are full time employees. NorthStar responds to about 5,500 calls each year, dispatched from five strategically located bases, with six ambulances staffed 24 hours a day in addition to two quick response vehicles. The service is licensed at the Basic EMT level, and permitted by Maine EMS to operate at the Paramedic level when personnel with the requisite certification are responding. “About 99% of the time we’re able to have a Paramedic respond to every emergency call,” says Senecal. “About 80% of our calls are emergencies,” he says, with the remainder being transfers. “Our crews could be anywhere, from the nursing home to a back country rescue on the Appalachian trail.” In fact, nearly half of NorthStar’s employees have completed wilderness EMS training—skills that prove useful in this remote, expansive coverage area. There are built-in benefits to being a hospital-based ambulance service,

Senecal reflects. “Being part of the system, with the hospital driving the local health care machine, lends momentum to a community effort toward wellness.” Franklin Memorial Health System initiatives include their domestic violence awareness and prevention, the Healthy Kids program, and the Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center. Some NorthStar personnel are members of Franklin Memorial Hospital’s “Code Blue” (in-hospital cardiac arrest) team. And through NorthStar’s Community Medicine (CP) program, Northstar EMTS and paramedics provide valuable athome services at no charge to residents (with a health care provider’s referral). CP is designed to ensure that appropriate resources are available, providing a healthcare “bridge” with a spectrum of support and education (such as medication management) to those who have recently been discharged from the hospital, need help managing multiple chronic conditions, and/or addressing safety concerns at home. “We can check in and troubleshoot, especially for patients who are reluctant or unable to make the trip to seek health care. It’s a long way from Eustis to the hospital,” says Senecal, pointing out that potential rapport established between CP providers and their patients can be a physical and mental well-being safety net. “Our CP patients have been known to greet us at their door with home baked cookies, and there are times when we’ve shoveled snow for them and made sure their pets are looked after.”

NorthStar Ambulance Paramedic Sara Palmer (L) and Advanced EMT Sherry Labbe returning to the station after a community paramedicine home visit to check in on a patient.



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

Whitefield’s First Responder crew, L to R: EMT Ben Caron, EMT and Rescue Chief Lynn Talacko, and Paramedic Tom Feeney.



he Whitefield Fire Association and a separate rescue service merged and became a municipal department, Whitefield Fire & Rescue, about a decade ago, explains EMS Chief Lynn Talacko, a Basic EMT. Talacko joined the Fire Department 30 years ago, and has been in EMS over twenty years. “As for personnel, our volunteer First Responder service is at a low point right now,” he allows, down from 10 or 12 in the past to just three licensed members including Talacko, plus two more firefighters who have just completed their training and are planning to expand into EMS, and one soon to be licensed. Talacko and his colleagues work out of town at their day jobs, which

clearly makes daytime coverage a challenge. “It’s really tough when a 9-1-1 call comes through on your pager or cell phone, and there’s nothing you can do, in that moment, to help,” he sighs. Luckily, thanks to a contractual arrangement, Delta Ambulance responds to all EMS calls in the Whitefield service area (approximate population: 3,500). The Whitefield First Responders respond when they can. “We live right here, so those times when we’re able to respond we get to the scene first, and do what we can to stabilize the patient before the Delta paramedics respond,” Talacko says. “We’re not a transport service, but we have a 2008 ambulance that was donated to us through connections,

which we keep as a rescue vehicle stocked with supplies. It’s useful to shelter a patient in bad weather before Delta arrives, for a mass casualty event, or for firefighter rehab at the scene of a fire.” Whitefield also participates in mutual aid with Jefferson, Summerville, and Windsor. Over 100 calls for help are received each year, ranging from a patient not breathing to burns to falls to psychiatric emergencies, says Talacko. “Whatever the nature of the emergency, the most rewarding aspect is the opportunity to simply make a fellow human being feel better, helping however we can and also providing peace of mind to someone who is sick or hurt, and likely frightened and upset.”

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

At the Indian Day Weekend last summer, Sipayik Ambulance Driver Jim Boyle was ready to answer visitors’ questions and demonstrate how to perform hands-only CPR.



ipayik Ambulance is a tribal service, mainly serving the 700-plus residents of Pleasant Point Reservation, and “we also respond to the towns of Dennysville and Pembroke, as well as providing back-up for Perry and Eastport,” says Sipayik Paramedic/EMS Supervisor, Ruby McLellan. She is one of eight full time employees; four additional part timers include EMTs and AEMTs as well as drivers with CPR and ambulance operator training. The service is licensed at the Basic EMT level, and permitted by Maine EMS to operate at the Paramedic level when personnel with the requisite certification are responding. They maintain two ambulances, responding mostly to emergency calls, with some occasional transfers. The 380400 calls received each year range from chest pain to vehicle accidents, to intoxication and drug overdoses, to a baby delivered en route to Down East Community Hospital last year. “The number of calls has increased substantially in the past five years, as community members have become more comfortable with calling us for help,” McLellan explains. There are many citizens who may have little choice, she observes, as not everyone in need of medical care has a vehicle to get to the nearest hospital. Sipayik Ambulance members are always looking for

ways to build community awareness, participating in the Career Expo in May to attract potential new members and bolster their ranks. (McLellan says that anyone interested in joining the service is welcome to contact her anytime at rbeal@wabanaki.com.) EMT classes are offered every fall in Machias and Calais, though it’s currently necessary to travel to Bangor to earn paramedic certification. Last summer, Sipayik Ambulance members enjoyed offering locals a chance to learn hands-on CPR in 90 seconds at the Indian Day Weekend Health Fair, where they also provided blood pressure checks and grab bags for the kids. In the past year or so, some major upgrades have taken place. In order to keep up with changes in the emergency medical field, Sipayik Ambulance obtained new Zoll X-series cardiac monitors. Thanks to a successful grant proposal, plans are underway to add two badly-needed stair chairs. New portable radios and pagers have been purchased to ensure reliable communications, so that no calls are missed and crew members are safe on scene, and able to request additional help, if needed. And efforts are being made to secure one replacement ambulance, which will benefit crew members and patients alike by providing a smoother and more comfortable ride.



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018 Members of Presque Isle Fire Department’s C-Crew, sporting pink T-shirts to recognize breast cancer awareness month. L-R: Winston Reed, Firefighter/Paramedic; Randall Bowen, Firefighter/Paramedic; Grant Spinney, Firefighter/EMT; Vince Baldwin, Captain/EMT; Tim Browning, Firefighter/EMT; and Dylan Cyr, Firefighter/Paramedic.



mbulance service was provided by a local hospital before the establishment of Presque Isle Rescue, just a year ago in April of 2017. A division of the Presque Isle Fire Department, its membership consists of 18 firefighters: seven licensed paramedics, two AEMTS and the others are presently Basic EMTs. The service is licensed at the Advanced EMT level, and permitted by Maine EMS to operate at the Paramedic level when personnel with the requisite certification are responding. They serve the city of Presque Isle (population 9,680), responding to some 1,200 emergency medical calls a year, ranging

“from trauma to not feeling well,” says Rescue Chief Darrell White. He adds that they probably do another 30 long distance transfers each year, as well. In addition to its three ambulances, the service maintains a rescue boat, a rescue truck and an ATV hauler with a Jaws of Life, ropes and rigging, and confined space gear “so we’re ready for anything and everything,” says White. Many calls in this northern Maine community involve recreational accidents and mishaps. White recalls one remote snowmobile accident that was particularly challenging as “the folks involved were from out of state, and had no idea how to

accurately describe their location. It took a lot of cell phone pinging in order to get to them.” Presque Isle Fire & Rescue personnel jointly host a public safety open house in September, and crews visit local students in grades K through 5 throughout the school year to teach fire prevention and safety. “Thanks to a FEMA grant, we own a smoke trailer with its own generator. The inside is equipped with a cookstove, so we can simulate a kitchen fire, which sets off the fire alarm. Even the doors get hot, so kids have to be resourceful and use the windows to exit. It’s a great hands-on

opportunity for them to learn and practice their safety skills.” He adds that Presque Isle FD is more than happy to make arrangements for other departments and agencies to borrow their smoke trailer to use in their communities. He notes that Caribou Fire Department is the only other Fire Department in Region 6 with a full time rescue department. “We’ve had some bumps and curves in the road as we navigated this past year,” he reflects, “and it’s been a blessing to have [Caribou Fire & EMS Chief] Scott Susi nearby and graciously willing to offer guidance and answer questions as they arise.“

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018



ooking back, Critical Care certified Paramedic Scott Lash says, “We hit the ground running,” when he was hired a few years ago as the Director of Operations of Boothbay Regional Ambulance Service (BRAS). The shutdown and reorganization of St. Andrews Hospital brought with it changes in local health care delivery to the peninsula, “but every effort was taken to assure there was no direct impact on the quality of patient care.” Now, he points to a modernized regional EMS system with expanded initiatives and innovative offerings made possible through local partnerships, grants, and the generous support of community members such as Paul and Giselaine Coulombe, who underwrote the construction of the spacious new station that opened just over a year ago. The facility includes a large, well-used meeting space, and a simulation lab featuring a salvaged rear compartment of a retired BRAS ambulance, ideal for hands-on training sessions. BRAS covers the towns of Southport and Boothbay Harbor as well as Boothbay itself. Their service area reflects a year round population of about 7,000. “At the peak of tourist season, the number is closer to 30,000,” says Lash. BRAS is licensed at the EMT level and permitted by Maine EMS to operate at the Paramedic level when qualified personnel are available. The call volume starts to ramp up in early June, is in full swing by Windjammer Days, continues with the September Boothbay Harbor Fest, and has been extending later into the year with the growing popularity of fall tourism and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Aglow. There are two (or sometimes more) crews scheduled 24/7 to respond to about

1,600 calls for help each year. Many of those calls reflect the area’s relatively high percentage of elderly including year round and seasonal residents, and visiting tourists. This can be a challenge, says Lash, as a surprising number of out of staters turn out to be recovering from illnesses or injuries, even recently discharged from the hospital—but “no way was I going to miss my annual vacation time in Maine!” Through the Community Paramedic (CP) program, certified Boothbay Regional Ambulance personnel are able to not only perform assessments in the home but also draw labs, and provide anticoagulation clinic and A1C metering for housebound residents. Grant funding has made possible the purchase of a CP vehicle as well as a Rapid Response vehicle. Half a dozen or so BRAS members have completed the required training to become certified child safety seat instructors, happy to share their expertise on request. In the recent past BRAS has also acquired new, state of the art digital communication equipment, 12-lead LifePak defibrillators, and helped to install a number of community AEDs [Automatic External Defibrillators] with smart phone site location capability, so that virtually anyone can locate and use one to save a life. Lash and his crew members are especially excited about a professional development opportunity available thanks to an innovative grant from the Doree Taylor Foundation. The grant enables them to receive pay for real-time clinical in-hospital training in any number of specialties, at a medical facility of their choosing, whether one of the area hospitals or farther afield.

Boothbay AEMT Suzie Norman, deep decontamination detail.

MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES 2018 is published by the Bangor Daily News

advertising@bangordailynews.com 207.990.8105 EMS WEEK 2018 MAY 20-26


Publisher: Richard J. Warren Senior Editor, Special Sections: Matthew Chabe Sales Manager: Todd Johnston Sales: Linda Hayes Layout & Cover: Coralie Cross Creative Manager: Michele Dwyer Creative Services: Callie Picard, Amy Allen, Carolina Rave

The material in this section was produced for Maine EMS by Nancy McGinnis/ Communicado! McGinnis, a freelance writer and photographer, has also been a member of the Maine EMS Community for over 30 years. Learn more at www.facebook.com/communicado



MAINE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018