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.

Article source: http://www.excellanceinc.com/2016/04/exclusive-interview-raa-fleet-manager-dan-fellows.html

Richmond Ambulance Authority Paramedic Receives ‘Star of Life’ Award

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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.”

Richmond Ambulance Authority’s Dan Fellows Wins Prestigious EMS10 Award

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RICHMOND, Va., March 1, 2016 – Dan Fellows, fleet manager of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), has won the national EMS10 Award for his innovative approach to using solar energy to supplement the electrical needs of ambulances.  This award, presented at the 2016 EMS Today Conference by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), recognizes 10 individuals who have contributed to EMS in an exceptional and innovative way.

As fleet manager for RAA’s 40 ambulances, Fellows is responsible for the design and day-to-day operation of these vehicles, and he is constantly looking to for ways to improve efficiency.   When faced with the problem of finding a reliable energy source for a RAA resource vehicle that did not have access to a shoreline power plug at the back of headquarters, Fellows decided to explore the use of solar panels to charge the unit.

“The solar panels installed on this unit did an excellent job of charging the battery needed to start the vehicle each morning so we decided to try solar panels on a standard ambulance to see if we would have similarly positive results,” said Fellows.  “There were many factors to work through such as secure mounting and wiring the panels directly to the vehicle’s battery so the solar energy could power the ambulance’s entire electrical system.  Others in the industry had dabbled with solar to charge individual component batteries, not the entire vehicle, and we have come close.”

RAA’s solar panels don’t generate enough energy to completely power the largest ambulances but do generate enough electricity to offset the energy requirements of the many onboard electronics such as the mobile communications systems, air quality control, mobile gateways, and computer chargers, all of which draw power.  After offsetting the draw of the electronics on board, the solar energy provides about four additional amps of power to trickle charge the batteries.  As a result, ambulances no longer high idle when parked between calls.  While the solar panels don’t generate enough energy to allow the ambulances to be completely turned off between calls, the engine only needs to power the heating and A/C system; the solar panels power all the other electronics within the ambulance.

Before implementing solar-charging in all of RAA’s ambulances, Fellows tested an ambulance for almost a full year to collect data on its efficiency. The cost savings and positive environmental impact proved a winning combination.

“Dan is a creative manager who thinks outside the box and is constantly looking for solutions to improve efficiency,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “The use of solar panels on our ambulances has led to noticeable cost reductions.  Battery life is extended, fuel is saved and the solar panels serve as a barrier so the vehicle absorbs less heat which reduces air conditioning demand in the summer.  There is also the added benefit of reduced environmental impact.  We are proud of Dan and happy to see his innovative approach to operational challenges recognized on a national level.”

“It is a tremendous honor to win an EMS10 Award,” said Fellows.  “I am blessed to work with supervisors and senior staff who encourage experimentation and are willing to explore new ideas and methods.  This culture of innovation at RAA – clinically and operationally – drives us all.”

This is the third EMS10 Award for the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  COO Rob Lawrence and Operational Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Ornato are also recipients of this prestigious national award.  Only two EMS organizations in the United States have three EMS 10 Awards – RAA and MedStar in Fort Worth, Texas.

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.

Employee of the First Quarter: Capt. Jonathan Nordstrom

j nordstrom employee of the quarter

Congratulations to the Employee of the First Quarter of 2016 – Capt Jon Nordstrom.   An extract from the nomination by members of staff speak volumes as the solid employee and leader that Jon is:

  Jon has been instrumental in helping with all departments and needs of the organization.  He is willing to help training, billing, operations, and any place in which a challenge needs a resolution.  He is always the consummate professional, willing to step up when needed and always brings new ideas and solutions to the forefront.  He tackles every assignment with a smile and a please and thank you.

Well done Capt Nordstrom – well deserved!

Employee of the Fourth Quarter: Ulanda Keyes

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Ulanda started her career with the Richmond Ambulance Authority in July 2008 as a Charge Entry Analyst in the Reimbursement Department.  In February 2011, Ulanda became a Patient Account Analyst I.  She was recognized for consistently providing excellent customer service.  In February 2012, Ulanda was promoted to Patient Account Analyst III for “Exceeding Expectations” in her technical performance, knowledge, customer service, and problem solving skills.  In March of this year, Ulanda was promoted to the position of QA/QI Coordinator of Reimbursement where she is responsible for supporting internal compliance and the auditing program for the Reimbursement Department.  Ulanda is also a graduate of the 2015 Leadership Academy and continues to receive praise from her co-workers for going the extra mile to welcome and assist new staff in her department.  We are proud to have Ulanda as a part of the RAA team and wish her many more successes in the future.

Congratulations, Ulanda!