RAA Receives the 2015 Dick Ferneau “Paid Service of the Year,” Award

national ems awardRICHMOND, VIRGINIA AUGUST 20, 2015 – The Richmond Ambulance Authority has been selected to receive the 2015 Dick Ferneau “Paid Service of the Year,” Award by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). This award recognizes an agency for overall operational excellence in EMS.

The Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year Award is sponsored by Ferno in honor of its co-founder, Dick Ferneau. Ferneau, who passed away in 2009, was a true pioneer of the EMS industry. From the time he was a teenager and until his death at the age of 90, Dick engineered many designs and concepts, many of which still impact the EMS industry today. He listened endlessly to the evolving needs of caregivers and first responders, and worked feverishly to develop innovations to help make their jobs safer, easier and more efficient. Dick was also a compassionate, servant leader who, alongside Ferno co-founder and chairman, El Bourgraf, made many local and global contributions as Ferno continued to expand its international footprint.

The Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year Award pays tribute to agencies that exemplify Dick’s spirit and dedication to continuous improvement, and reflect his character as a humble and compassionate friend and philanthropist. Agencies are evaluated in the following areas: EMS education and training, innovations in pre-hospital care and protocol, community involvement, EMS system/program upgrades, worker safety, injury and illness prevention, and public education projects.

Richmond Ambulance Authority is one of the busiest ambulance services in the United States per capita, and despite this the agency still finds ways to ensure it is providing patients with the most excellent care possible. RAA covers 62.5 square miles, housing a population of 204,149 residents with a daytime population up to 800,000 as Virginia’s capital city. In 2014, RAA responded to about 64,000 calls, and transported 42,000 people to the hospital. RAA’s average response time in 2014 was 5 minutes and 45 seconds. In addition, emergency-response times were 95% compliant with standards for life-threatening emergencies in 2012.

“To be identified as the Dick Ferneau Paid Service of the Year is not just rewarding for this year, we feel this is like a lifetime achievement award, because we constantly strive to achieve excellence,” says Chip Decker, chief executive officer of RAA. “To receive this isn’t just about the year or the decade of work we’ve put in to be as good as we can be, it’s also about showing our efforts to have a workforce that’s happy, safe, engaged and clinically focused.”

RAA is an innovative agency with many programs that benefit patients and employees alike, having ran a number of very successful public health and injury prevention programs such as the successful “Rider Alert” motorcycle safety program that places identity cards inside riders’ helmets. This program, now a global collaboration, has issued over 1 million cards to riders around the world. RAA is also part of the USAF Pararescueman training “pipeline” and delivers clinical placement training to trainee PJs. It also provides fellowship placements for Central and South American-based trauma surgeons as part of the Pan American Trauma Society, where an overview of the EMS role in a busy trauma system is explained and demonstrated over two-week attachments where the surgeon is totally immersed into prehospital clinical operations.

In terms of patient care, RAA treats patients using inventive methods that increase quality of care. RAA uses mechanical CPR to provide consistent and high-quality chest compressions. RAA also uses therapeutic hypothermia during resuscitation procedures, which cools the body to preserve brain function. The cooling program (followed by appropriate post-resuscitation care) has resulted in nearly 12% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients to be released neurologically intact, compared to an 8% rate nationally.

“We are constantly looking to innovate,” says RAA Chief Operating Officer Rob Lawrence, “whether it’s participating in things like the freshly thawed plasma trial or cultivating a culture of safety in our agency. Safety is first and foremost, whether it’s vehicle training to remain accident free or our beneficial relationship with the police department. We see this culture as an innovation in and of itself, because this way we don’t have to reeducate people to be able to obtain this culture. We embrace this culture.”

employee of the quarter

Employee of the Third Quarter: Angela Parker

Congratulations to Senior Accounting Specialist Angela Parker who is our Employee of the Quarter!

Angie started with RAA in November 2008 as our Bookkeeper/Accountant, and in 2014, became our Senior Accounting Specialist. For the past six years, Angie has done an excellent job processing and maintaining accurate records of accounting transactions; preparing reports and/or reconciliations for various accounting transactions or systems; works with Reimbursement to process and maintain Lifesaver membership applications and payments; assists in establishing and maintaining accounting control procedures; resolves accounting discrepancies. She is prompt in turning around purchase orders within 24 hours, has great working relationships with her peers, and assists in correcting other Department’s oversights and discrepancies.

Her colleagues have come to count on her attention to detail which helps to save RAA time and money. In short, Angie is a critical member of the Finance Department. This quarter, we honor her work ethic and commitment and to her position and are proud to have her as a part of the RAA team.

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1,000-plus RRHA residents learn hands-only CPR

Sakiynah Jefferson and Auriel Cunningham pushed the chest of the plastic mannequins in sync with the instructor’s claps, which followed the approximately 100 beats-per-minute pace of the Bee Gees’ disco hit “Stayin’ Alive.”

The two were among about 40 people learning hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the Calhoun Family Investment Center in Gilpin Court last week.

Over the past year, more than 1,000 residents of Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority communities have been trained to do hands-only CPR.

The training is part of a broader citywide Richmond Ambulance Authority initiative to train as many people as possible to do the simpler CPR that consists of chest compressions only — no mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths.

“Eighty percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in the home or a private setting,” Michelle McLees of the American Heart Association said at the recent training.

“All of you now have the necessary skills to save someone in cardiac arrest. This could be a family member, loved one or a friend.”

People should first call 911 if someone is in cardiac arrest and follow the instructions of the emergency dispatcher, who also can give instructions on doing hands-only CPR.

The ambulance authority has provided the training to RRHA residents at new tenant orientation sessions.

As of Tuesday, 1,109 residents in RRHA public housing communities had completed the training, said Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer of the ambulance authority.

The training is not a substitute for CPR certification that is required for some jobs.

However, it aims to get more bystanders to consider helping while emergency responders are on the way.

Lawrence said the citywide initiative will continue for another year, and he answered other questions about the effort.

QUESTION: How many people have been trained citywide in the initiative?

ANSWER: Since we started our current campaign in April 2014, we have directly trained 1,972 citizens and issued 1,042 (CPR training) kits to enable people to train others.

The net training total is 5,045 people (if everyone passes the training).

Other parts of our CPR training have included Spanish language classes, police citizen academies, National Night Out, Great Days of CPR, school groups and church events.

We have trained select Richmond Public Schools teachers to be CPR instructors as well, so they can carry on the training within the public school system.

Our aim is to train as many people as possible.

QUESTION: What’s in the kit?

ANSWER: The kit, which is manufactured in a partnership between the (American Heart Association) and manufacturer Laerdal (Medical), contains an inflatable mannequin and an instructional video in both English and Spanish.

QUESTION: How is the program funded?

ANSWER: We have received grant funding to complete this program, including a Bloomberg Cities of Service CPR grant. We were gifted 500 hands-only CPR kits (no cash, just kits).

Altria Companies Employee Community Fund provided grant funding to purchase the training mannequins and further hands-only CPR kits ($24,000). This generous funding will keep the program running for at least another 12 months.

QUESTION: Have you had anyone report back that they have used the training to help save someone?

ANSWER: We have not had anyone come forward yet who has taken the class and then delivered CPR for real — but it’s only a matter of time.

This article originally appeared on Richmond.com.

Richmond Ambulance Authority receives American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Recognition Award

RICHMOND VIRGINIA APRIL 29, 2015 — The Richmond Ambulance Authority has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number don’t receive this prompt treatment. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.

Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies provide access to 12-lead ECG machines (devices that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel determine if a heart attack has occurred), and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for the entire year, and treat at least eight STEMI patients for the year.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud The Richmond Ambulance Authority for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

“The Richmond Ambulance Authority is dedicated to providing the best pre-hospital care in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by defining processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients in the City of Richmond,” said Chief Executive Officer, Chip Decker. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients.”

Employee of the Quarter

Employee of the Second Quarter: Chris Ward

Congratulations to Communications Supervisor Chris Ward who is our Employee of the Quarter!

Chris has been employed with RAA since November 15, 2010 and is a Night Shift Supervisor in the Communications Center. Chris has distinguished himself as being incredibly supportive of his co-workers and makes sure all of his SSC’s have the resources and information that they need to be effective for our field providers and patients.

A strong leader, he pays close attention to the needs of our field providers by providing timely information, adapts quickly to situations, and boosts the morale of his employees by being extremely observant of everything going on in the Communications Center and letting them know that he cares about their personal and professional development.

Chris is a shining star on the RAA team!