Information for Richmond area residents concerning widespread influenza illness in Virginia

PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY

For immediate release

Contact:       George Jones, 804-205-3735

Rob Lawrence, 804-254-1140

Date: January 23, 2018

(Richmond, VA) – The Richmond City Health District and Richmond Ambulance Authority are providing information to help inform Richmond residents about preventing the flu and steps to take if you become sick with a flu-like illness.

Influenza is currently widespread in Virginia as well as throughout the United States. Everyone should be serious about preventing the spread of the flu virus. The first step is to avoid catching it; if you have not been vaccinated, influenza vaccine will help provide immunity to the flu virus, and will lessen severity of symptoms if you do happen to come down with the flu. Other important preventions include:

  • Diligent and frequent washing of your hands and hands of young children
  • In congregate settings, frequently clean and disinfect shared surfaces such as tabletops, toys, and even doorknobs
  • Avoid sharing drinking and eating utensils
  • Eat nutritious foods: fruits and vegetables; drink plenty of water
  • Get enough sleep and reduce stress

Persons who become sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home and avoid contact with other people when possible. Children and adults should stay out of school and away from work until symptoms are no longer present. Treat symptoms while resting at home; symptoms include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose. Some people may have vomiting or diarrhea. Persons with severe symptoms should seek medical care.

Because of widespread flu that is occurring throughout Virginia, hospitals and emergency departments are seeing increases in numbers of patients presenting with influenza-like symptoms. This is requiring the rerouting of some cases to other facilities. However, residents are assured that this is a coordinated activity. According to the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition, All Central Virginia hospitals are open, accepting patients, and operating normally. During periods of unusually high patient volume, hospitals in the region have pre-planned to coordinate the routing of ambulances to hospitals most capable of providing the appropriate level of care to patients in the least amount of time possible. Since 2002, all Central Virginia hospitals have engaged in cooperative planning through the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition to ensure that patients receive the right care, at the right place, and at the right time, even when demand for the healthcare delivery system is high.

For information about influenza vaccination, prevention and treatment, visit the following websites

www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

www.vdh.virginia.gov/immunization/

Life Saving Bleeding Control Equipment Issued to Richmond Public Schools

 

Richmond, Virginia – October 16, 2017 – In a project to raise grant funding that began a year ago, the Richmond Ambulance Authority and VCU Health teamed up to provide 35 of Richmond’s Public Schools with Bleeding Control (BCON) equipment.  The equipment, prescribed by national Stop the Bleed Campaign, contains tourniquets, bandages and specially treated gauze dressings; all designed to assist with the clotting and control of bleeding.

Uncontrolled bleeding is responsible for 35 percent of pre-hospital trauma deaths and 40 percent of deaths within the first 24 hours. The Stop the Bleed campaign was launched in 2015 as part of a nationwide effort to reduce these numbers. Stop the Bleed aims to teach simple techniques to slow or stop life-threatening bleeding, believing that people already at the scene can help save lives before first responders arrive.

Active shooter or mass casualty incidents, most recently in Las Vegas and previously at Columbine High School (Denver, CO) and Sandy Hook Elementary (Newtown, CT) have become a reality of modern life and everyone must be prepared for training for the worst while hoping for the best. More than 300 people have been killed in the United States during what have been classified as active shooter and mass-casualty incidents since the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.

Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority commented, “All too often, victims of active shooter or mass-casualty incidents bleed to death waiting for medical treatment. Responses to save victims have to be immediate, fully orchestrated and ready to go. This equipment and the associated training is clearly the way to go”.

 

The equipment, valued at $22,000, was funded by the VCU Auxiliary Fund to the tune of $5000 and then matched by the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  RAA then applied for and received an additional $12,000 from the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF). Once funding was secured and equipment purchased, RAA and VCU Medical Center sent instructors to train all RPS Nursing and Security staff to ensure there is a trained member of staff on site at every school receiving a BCON kit.  The hope is now to continue to train as many staff as possible in the coming months.

“A trained person on site can make a lifesaving difference. As the only Level 1 trauma center in central Virginia, we know how critical it is to control bleeding quickly. A person can die from blood loss within minutes without care,” said Michel Aboutanos, M.D., medical director of the VCU Trauma Center.

 

The first packs containing the equipment was presented at the RPS School Board meeting on Monday by RAA Chief Executive Officer, Chip Decker and Beth Broering MSN, RN, FAEN Trauma Program Manager at the VCU Trauma Center.

“We appreciate this generous donation from the Richmond Ambulance Authority and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in providing the BCON equipment for our schools,” said Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz. “The proactive thinking to create these kits as well as train all of our health services and security teams can make a life-saving difference in an emergency situation.  The safety of our students and staff is a number one priority, so these kits will allow us to be even more prepared to quickly respond should an incident or severe injury occur.”

 

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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 24 EMS agencies in North America accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.  For more information, see www.raaems.org.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org

About Richmond Public Schools

Richmond Public Schools (RPS) serves over 24,000 students, representing the region’s diverse socioeconomic mix comprised of 26 elementary schools, including one charter school, seven middle schools, five comprehensive high schools and three specialty schools. RPS has an expansive International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Lucille Brown Middle School and Thomas Jefferson High School as well as the region’s first IB Primary Years Program (PYP) at Chimborazo Elementary School. U. S. News and World Report ranked Richmond Community and Open high schools among the state’s top public high schools with Franklin Military Academy being recognized as the nation’s first public military school.

To learn more, visit: rvaschools.net or keep up on social media at

http://../Downloads/twitter.com/RPS_Schools]twitter.com/RPS_Schools

http://../Downloads/facebook.com/RichmondPublicSchools]facebook.com/RichmondPublicSchools

http://../Downloads/instagram.com/rvaschools]instagram.com/rvaschools

Resilience. Pride. Success. #WeAreRPS

Richmond Ambulance Authority named a Virginia Municipal League Insurance Programs (VMLIP) Risk Management Performance Award winner for 2017

Richmond May 16th The Richmond Ambulance Authority has been awarded a Virginia Municipal League Insurance Programs (VMLIP) Risk Management Performance Award for 2017. RAA was recognized Friday, May 12th at VMLIP’s 2017 Annual Meeting held in Glen Allen.

Each year, Risk Management Performance Awards are presented to members with a proactive risk management attitude and commitment, excellent loss experience and reporting time, or a significant improvement in their loss ratios. The purpose of the award is to encourage and recognize outstanding risk management performance.

RAA’s clinical education staff was singled out for developing and maintaining an in-depth safe ambulance operator training program for current and new ambulance operators. The RAA Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) is mandated by the Virginia Department of Health’s, Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) for all individuals operating an ambulance. The accompanying level of safe vehicle operation has resulted in lower-than-industry levels of ‘at fault’ vehicle accidents for RAA’s fleet size and a reduction in overall insurance premiums.

The award was also attributed to RAA’s efforts to preserve and protect IT and business infrastructure through Continuity of Business and Continuity of Operations Planning efforts. RAA’s Safety and Risk Management Director, Bryan McRay, said ‘a part of the culture of safety is focused on Risk Management as well as risk reduction. To this effort, RAA has been working with services offered by VML to do our best to provide for Continuity of Business and Continuity of Operations should a catastrophic event occur. These efforts are primarily focused on the business side of RAA. These include data storage protection and backup, important document preservation, and working to establish as many safeguards as possible to support the RAA mission in austere conditions should the need arise’.
VMLIP is the first and largest group self-insurance pool in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more than 35 years, VMLIP has provided auto, property, liability, and workers’ compensation coverage to more than 470 local political subdivisions across Virginia.

Richmond Ambulance Authority Training Manager Shannon Daniel Wins International Award for Her Contribution to Critical Incident Stress Debriefing for First Responders

Richmond May 1st, 2017: Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) Training Manager, Shannon Daniel, has been selected by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation to receive the 2017 Excellence in Training & Education award. The award, to be presented this week at the 14th World Congress on Stress Trauma and Coping in Baltimore, is given to commemorate an individual’s exemplary dedication and commitment to critical incident stress management.
Shannon is one of the founding members of the RAA Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team and is regularly on call to offer assistance to not only RAA’s operational staff but also to other agency members of the Richmond public safety community. RAA’s Chief Clinical Officer and coordinator of the CISM team, Wayne Harbour said, “Shannon has been a cornerstone of our debriefing program that has extended to our own staff and public safety partners. She is always ready to lead a debrief, which she does with compassion and willingness to go the extra mile for all involved.”
Shannon’s passion runs so deep that she has also made the area of CISM and the management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the subject of the PhD studies she is currently undertaking. Her knowledge and experience, combined with her Masters in Education, has meant that she is also an in-demand speaker on both the local and national circuits. She has presented at the EMS World Expo – the largest EMS conference in North America – and the Professional Development Conference at FEMA’s National Fire Academy. Locally, she is a regular speaker at the annual Virginia EMS Symposium and many other local events. Shannon was instrumental in the recent creation and production of an EMS awareness video created by the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of EMS to familiarize and educate first responders to CISM, Peer Support and PTSD.

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 24 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 www.raaems.org.

Richmond Ambulance Authority Earns Re-Accreditation as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence from The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FEBRUARY 17, 2017
Richmond Ambulance Authority Earns Re-Accreditation as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence from The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Richmond Ambulance Authority was approved as an Emergency Medical Dispatch Center of Excellence on February 17, 2017 by the Board of Accreditation of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). Therefore, Richmond Ambulance Authority retains the distinguished honor of being the 66th Emergency Medical Dispatch Accredited Center in the world. Richmond Ambulance Authority is only the second ambulance service in the world and the first in the United States to attain accreditation six consecutive times.
The IAED is a non-profit standard-setting organization promoting safe and effective emergency dispatch services world-wide. Comprised of four allied Academies for medical, fire, police, and emergency communication nurse system dispatching, the IAED supports first-responder related research, unified protocol application, legislation for emergency call center regulation, and strengthening the emergency dispatch community through education, certification, and accreditation. An Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) is the highest distinction in 9-1-1 emergency communication services.
Richmond Ambulance Authority achieved re-accreditation for their continued compliance to the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) and the associated “20 Points of Excellence”. The “20 Points of Excellence” encompass international practice standards of excellence for Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). This sustained culture of operational effectiveness addresses system oversight, quality improvement programs, and individual certification of all emergency call-takers. Re-accreditation is a voluntary accomplishment that demonstrates an unprecedented dedication to public safety from not only each individual within the communications center, but also the administration team.
In addition to being featured in the next issue of The Journal of Emergency Dispatch, Richmond Ambulance Authority will be recognized on The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s website (http://www.emergencydispatch.org/AccredCurrentAces).
Contact: Kim Rigden
Phone: 1-800-960-6236 ext 134
International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)
IAED website: www.emergencydispatch.org