Visited by 12 Countries in 2016, Richmond Ambulance Authority Reflects On Another Year As A ‘Major Stop On The EMS World Tour’

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Left: Professor Freddie Lippert and the team from Copenhagen EMS, Denmark

Right: Paramedic Students from the Australian Catholic University, Canberra


Brazilian Trauma Surgeon, Dr Rod DeOlivera at the start of his Pan American Trauma Society Observership



Rob Lawrence

804 205 2557

Richmond December 19, 2016 — As 2016 draws to a close, the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) is reflecting on one of its busiest years ever, not only in terms of call volume, but also the number of visitors who made their way to Richmond.  In 2016, RAA received international visitors in 16 separate visits from 12 countries on five continents.

RAA takes much pride in being ‘a major stop on the EMS World tour’ and in 2016, welcomed a range of visitors wishing to view RAA operations. Norwegian and Finnish Health ministry members spent time with RAA leadership to compare and contrast data and performance measuring processes.  The entire Norwegian EMS performance monitoring and management system draws some of its roots from RAA’s way of doing business.

One of RAA’s aims as a 501c3, Not for Profit organization is to use its own learning and experience in the pursuit of high performing operational and clinical EMS to raise the bar of global EMS. This was evident in the summer when it hosted the leaders of Rwanda’s (Africa) SAMU Ambulance service for a week’s master class in EMS operations.  SAMU’s Jean Camarade said, “Our time in RAA was a lifetime experience and undoubtedly will have an impact on ongoing quality improvement process of ambulance system in Rwanda. If you are a manager or clinical professional and want to learn from about world class EMS, your next stop should be RAA.”

RAA has also been central to the Pan American Trauma Society Observership program and in 2016 hosted visits from trauma surgeons and medical students from Central and South America for two- to three-week attachments to understand how a high value EMS system operates and take lessons back to assist with EMS development in their own countries. Dr. Rodrigo Gonçalves de Oliveira, a Sao Paulo, Brazil, surgeon said, “It was an amazing experience. The opportunity to learn from the best helps us to identify the gaps on our service, allowing us to propose changes to the entire system.”

RAA has also educated and influenced medical, paramedic and healthcare administration students. Individuals and groups from the Australian Catholic University campuses based in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane enjoyed their RAA learning experience.  The largest group of visitors every year is from the Masters in Healthcare Administration class from Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU).  Medical student Maria Jose Jaramillo from Quenca, Ecuador, said, “Every person at Richmond Ambulance Authority taught me something, not only high quality prehospital care, but also team work, kindness and love to every patient they take care of. I consider it one of the best experiences I’ve had by far, and I’ll keep this team forever in my heart.”

RAA’s international visit coordinator, who also began his own RAA career after an international visit from the UK, COO Rob Lawrence said, “We learn as much as we give with every visit and make lifelong friendships with those members of our international RAA family.  Our staff certainly enjoys the opportunity to share their experiences, whether it is a surgeon from Sudan or a student from Sydney.”

As for the full count, RAA received visitors from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, India, Japan, Norway, Rwanda, Sudan and Taiwan.

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority
In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the city manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents.  Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 200 calls per day and transports, on average, 140 patients per day.  RAA’s emergency response times are among the fastest in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of all responses.  RAA is one of only 22 EMS agencies in North America accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.  For more information, see

Richmond Ambulance Authority Wins the 2016 Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Award for Outstanding EMS Agency

RICHMOND, Va., November 17, 2016– The Richmond Ambulance Authority is the 2016 Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Award winner for Outstanding EMS Agency.    The Governor’s EMS Awards were presented Saturday night during the 37th annual Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk where the winners were given a trophy and a certificate signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“It is a tremendous honor to be named Outstanding EMS Agency of the year by Governor McAuliffe,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “Richmond Ambulance Authority constantly strives to provide the finest prehospital care to the citizens of Richmond in a cost efficient manner, and our entire organization appreciates this recognition of our efforts.”

Richmond Ambulance Authority was selected for this award based on numerous achievements locally, nationally and internationally and overall contributions to the development of EMS.  In 2016, RAA had its busiest year ever with more than 65,000 calls for service, an increase of five percent over the previous year, with no loss in operational performance or response time reliability.

RAA’s partnership with the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) was also noted.  When the recent ‘Gwyneth’s Law’ was signed by then Governor Robert McDonnell requiring all graduating high school seniors to be qualified in CPR, RAA stepped in to support this inside the City of Richmond.  RAA conducted a survey to determine the number and locations of all RPS

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and provided the assistance needed to equip and bring RPS up to the appropriate level of defibrillators.  RAA then trained RPS health and physical education staff as American Heart Association certified CPR instructors to equip them with the requisite skills to teach the graduating classes.

RAA’s approach to teaching CPR has evolved over the years from an annual Great Days of CPR event to a weekly, on-request activity.  RAA has partnered with the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) to deliver CPR to every new tenant entering RRHA housing.  Since January 1, 2016 alone, more than 1000 citizens have received training.  RAA also has a Latino outreach CPR program where classes are taught in both English and Spanish.

In terms of clinical education and the promotion of best practices, RAA hosts the US Airforce Pararescue program for two-month clinical rotations, providing these USAF Special Operators with field experience and clinical placements.  RAA also runs a Pan American Trauma Society fellowship / observer program for trauma surgeons from Central and South America in order to help them understand the operations of a true trauma system which includes EMS, hospital and public health.  In addition, RAA provides Masters level academic lectures to graduate students and offers assistance and mentorship for thesis projects.

Over the years, RAA has created a number of signature programs to contribute to wellness, injury prevention and health.  The RAA led motorcycle rider safety program, Rider Alert, celebrated its fifth anniversary in early 2016.  Since its inception, the Rider Alert program has spread from Richmond to numerous states throughout the country and also internationally.  Seven countries now have Rider Alert, and the program is currently being implemented in Australia.  Today, more than 2 million Rider Alert cards have been distributed worldwide.  The Crossing Alert campaign launched by RAA in 2012 continues to provide inspiration for other localities to prevent distracted texting and driving via its attention-grabbing public service announcement video which remains available for all to use.

RAA also has an ongoing staff wellness program that ranges from trained Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) staff members to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).  An example of these programs in action occurred during the March 2016 incident at the Richmond Greyhound Bus station in which a Virginia state trooper was killed.  All RAA staff involved in the incident, whether it was patient care or incident command, were taken out of service as soon as possible, debriefed and offered immediate CISM.  These management actions were gratefully received and a positive experience for all involved.

Staff are also supported in their personal and professional development, and the RAA staff wellness committee continues to deliver great programs such as the RAA Vegetable Garden,

made available for all to grow fresh herbs and vegetables.  This was initiated at the request of RAA employees who live in apartments in and around the city and had no other outlet to grow fresh produce.

The 2016 Governor’s EMS Award for Outstanding EMS Agency comes on the heels of numerous other prestigious awards won by RAA.  In the past 12 months, RAA was named the national Career EMS Agency of the Year by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ (NAEMT) and EMS World.  RAA also received the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold Award, for its excellence in rapidly treating heart attack patients and improving patient outcomes.   Additionally, individuals within RAA have received national recognition for excellence including an EMS10 Award, given to the 10 top innovators in EMS throughout the nation each year, and an American Ambulance Association (AAA) Star of Life Award.  RAA itself is the only governmental agency in Virginia to have received accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and also have its communications center named an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.

Richmond Ambulance Authority Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

Shannon Jackson
(804) 343-3608

Richmond Ambulance Authority Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

RICHMOND, Va., September 20, 2016 – The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Wednesday, September 21.   After a quarter century in operation, RAA has transformed from the nascent EMS service created by Richmond City Council and the city manager under dire circumstances in 1991, to become a preeminent world-leader in pre-hospital healthcare.

“When RAA was created 25 years ago, EMS service in the City was in complete disarray with multiple ambulance companies competing for the best, highest-paying transports, leaving some sectors of the City without coverage,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “There was no accountability at all which is why the Richmond Ambulance Authority was created and given responsibility for providing EMS services in the City of Richmond.  Over the course of these 25 years, particularly since we severed ties with our operations contractor in 2007 and became self-operated, the City of Richmond truly has a world-class EMS system.”

Today, RAA is renowned throughout the United States and internationally as a high-performance EMS agency and uses data and information systems to conduct demand analysis to ensure ambulances are in the right place at the right time to meet or exceed emergency response time requirements. Annual call volume has gone from 43,000 in 1991, to 66,000 calls in 2016 – a 50-percent increase.  Despite the surge in calls, the EMS system in Richmond has flourished in recent years, and RAA’s consistent level of excellent service, implementation of leading-edge clinical trials and impactful public education programs have not gone unnoticed.   In 2015, RAA was named the Career EMS Agency of the Year by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ (NAEMT) and EMS World magazine.  RAA’s other numerous distinctions include being accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and named an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.   Very few EMS agencies nationwide hold both of these accreditations.

For years, RAA has had a significant impact on EMS internationally, most recently with its partnership with the Panamerican Trauma Society.   Trauma surgeons from Central and South America come to Richmond to participate in this international observer program.  They spend weeks at a time embedded with RAA to fully understand the role an EMS organization plays in the overall trauma system.  These clinicians then take the lessons learned in the Richmond system and apply them in their own countries.

Since becoming a self-operated system in 2007, RAA has hosted numerous visitors who want to learn more about Richmond’s EMS successes including government officials, doctors and EMS personnel from England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Norway, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, Turkmenistan and Taiwan as well as from throughout the United States.

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority
In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the city manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents.  Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 200 calls per day and transports, on average, 140 patients per day.  RAA’s emergency response times are among the best in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of the time.  RAA is one of only a few EMS agencies in North America accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.  For more information, see

Exclusive Interview: Richmond Ambulance Authority’s Dan Fellows (Fleet Manager)

Dan Fellows is the Fleet Manager for Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA). We recently chatted with Dan about his time as a Fleet Manager, what makes RAA unique, and much more in our latest interview.

Dan, first off thank you for taking the time to speak with us. You are currently the Fleet

Manager for the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA). Tell us how you came to work at RAA and what you did prior.

DAN FELLOWS: I had worked at heavy truck and light truck shops before attending Nashville Auto Diesel College. After graduating and working for Ford dealers for a few years on ambulances, I came to RAA in the mid 90’s when they were looking for an experienced ambulance technician.

RAA has a reputation for being a high performing EMS system with response times that remain some of the fastest in the nation. As the Fleet Manager, you are always looking for ways to improve efficiency. What are some of the most important things that the RAA does on a daily basis to remain a high performing EMS system?

DAN FELLOWS: At RAA, the availability and reliability of the vehicles is paramount. To achieve efficiency in the System Status Management System we consistently want to keep vehicle turnaround time as low as possible. Fleet service technicians are given 15 minutes to determine if a vehicle currently in service can be repaired within the time frame or if the vehicle needs to be changed out. All of the vehicles at RAA are fully stocked and ready for service and thus changing vehicles takes a matter of minutes. Vehicles in for repair not only have the service needed done, but are also checked over for other possible needs along with checks on high potential failure areas, which have been designated from data collected on repair and preventative maintenance.

You recently received the National EMS10 Award for your innovative approach to using solar energy to supplement the electrical needs of ambulances. Can you give us some background on how this concept came about and how it felt to win the award?

DAN FELLOWS: The concept came from the need to have a resource vehicle’s battery charged in a location without access to a shore line. The most effective possibility was solar. After installation and testing, it was found the solution worked exceptionally well, and a trial was implemented to test the effect on standard Type III ambulances. Data was collected and the findings were very encouraging so the decision was made to continue installing the solar to the remaining Type III fleet. Receiving the EMS 10 award was very humbling for me as the solution was created out of necessity and to be honored by my peers in EMS is very gratifying.

An article entitled “How to Develop a Fleet Replacement Strategy” by Rob Lawrence and yourself was recently published on EMS World. The article had stated that fleet selection should be based on environmental, as well as operational, conditions. What are your thoughts on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and its potential?

DAN FELLOWS: As with all vehicle technologies, as each reaches its effective state, CNG has great potential in the EMS industry. Not unlike solar, CNG does have the potential for increasing the effectiveness of fleets while reducing the cost of operation when infrastructure is developed and available for its use.

The RAA has been a loyal customer of Excellance for many years. What are the most important aspects that you look for in a manufacturer and how does Excellance provide that for RAA?

DAN FELLOWS: At RAA, I look for the quality of a vehicle, the ability to come up with innovative design, and the ability to remain cost effective with future changes through a rechassis process. Excellance provides an avenue to each of these goals.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have had as a Fleet Manager and what are you most proud of?

DAN FELLOWS: I have many of the same challenges as other fleet managers, maintaining budgets, maintaining efficiency, and keeping a consistent product on the road for the service of citizens. I am most proud of seeing the hard work my staff and I have done bearing fruit month after month, year after year in a fast paced, high volume system.

Do you have any advice for individuals looking to become a Fleet Manager?

DAN FELLOWS: Be not afraid of data or what it has to tell you. Do not be hesitant to call upon other fleet managers to aid in answering questions you may not currently have the answers to. Always keep the needs of the crews and citizens in mind when designing, maintaining, and replacing vehicles.

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Richmond Ambulance Authority Paramedic Receives ‘Star of Life’ Award

T Samuels AAA2T Samuels AAA1

RICHMOND, Va., April 13, 2016 – Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) paramedic Tiffany Samuels has received an American Ambulance Association’s (AAA) Star of Life award for her leadership in clinical excellence and exceptional training for new EMS field personnel.   The Stars of Life awards, presented at AAA’s Stars of Life Celebration April 11-13 in Washington, DC, honor remarkable ambulance service professionals from around the nation who truly stand out and represent excellence in their field.  All who receive this award are nominated by their peers.

Samuels has been with RAA since 2008 where she currently serves as a paramedic field training officer and chair of the RAA Clinical Services Committee.  After graduating high school, Samuels was briefly employed in the banking industry before beginning her EMS career with the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  In 2008, her EMS career started at an entry level position within the Logistics Department as a vehicle service technician.  She has worked very conscientiously, entering each new position with an undeniable passion.  Ms. Samuels’ dedication and focus ensured she was confident and proficient at current certification and skill level before progressing through the organization to her position as a paramedic – field training officer.  In this role she takes great effort and shows immense pride in teaching new employees how to provide world-class EMS.

“Tiffany is a delight to work with,” said Wayne Harbour, chief clinical officer for the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “She continues to be a valuable asset to RAA not only by the dedication with which she carries out normal day-to-day duties, but also by the many contributions she makes while serving on various committees. She helps shape the clinical direction of the agency by serving as chairperson of Clinical Services Committee”.

Last year, Samuels received the 2015 RAA Medical Director’s Award.  This prestigious award is presented annually by RAA’s internationally-renowned Medical Director, Dr. Joseph P. Ornato, to a paramedic who has demonstrated superior clinical abilities and has also dedicated personal time and effort to ensure RAA remains clinically on the cutting edge of mobile healthcare, not only in Richmond, but also nationally and internationally.

“She is an advocate for her fellow EMS providers while participating on the Wellness Committee, and she has presented many creative ideas to the Scheduling Committee promoting a positive work/life balance” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “She deserves to be recognized as a Star of Life, and we are proud of her many accomplishments.”

Samuels commented, “I am very honored to be selected by Richmond Ambulance Authority to represent them at the Stars of Life Assembly. To be considered with such high regard by my fellow coworkers and supervisors is truly humbling. I strive every day to live up to the reputation that this honor represents and will continue to do so with the pride and joy that comes along with truly loving my career.”