The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and EMS World Magazine, in conjunction with Advocates for EMS (AEMS), the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE), and the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA), established the National EMS Awards of Excellence program to recognize outstanding achievement in the EMS profession.
EMS World Magazine’s Volunteer EMS Service of the Year Award, sponsored by Firecom, and Paid Service of the Year Award, sponsored by Ferno, recognize outstanding performance by an EMS service. Each winning agency received a $1,000 award stipend, plus travel, lodging for three nights and registration for EMS EXPO 2010, where the award was presented at the opening keynote ceremony on September 29 in Dallas, TX.
EMS World Magazine Paid Service of the Year: Charleston County EMS
Charleston County (SC) EMS might not be one of the largest agencies in the country, but it’s certainly one of the busiest and most progressive.
With a staff of 144, the agency provides service to the entire county’s population of 315,000, covering 1,100 square miles. CCEMS operates 15 ALS transport and three prime-time ALS transport ambulances from a state-of-the-art dispatch center. In 2009, they responded to 50,000 requests for service. All CCEMS employees are certified as SC EMT or paramedic (75% of them National Registry), and all are ACLS, BTLS and hazmat operator-certified. All dispatchers are EMD-certified. Some noteworthy innovations include:
- Developed a tri-county, multi-hospital committee involving three governments and four different hospitals to improve cardiac care. A 12-lead project improved door-to-cath time from 120 minutes to less than 40 minutes county-wide.
- Developed the first RSI program in the state. CCEMS was the first agency to pilot the program that is now a state-wide initiative.
- All medical protocols are developed and reviewed by paramedics and EMTs before going to the medical director.
- The agency has developed several programs, including a student exchange that allows paramedic students from Britain to come to the U.S. for their ride time; a grant-funded medical Spanish course; and an incident command school.
The agency developed an EMS training program to improve recruitment efforts and diversity in the workplace. Trainees begin in supply and learn the system from the ground up. After 1 year, they attend EMT training, which is paid for by the department, and, after completing a job application and interviews, they are “hired” to begin work on the street. The tri-county committee secured funding for and implemented an EKG transmission program that allows faster transmission of data and can be used for disaster format, coordinating transportation to area facilities in the event of an MCI or other major incident. The department also initiated a new GPS system to route 9-1-1 calls for the quickest response, and owns and operates a county-wide 800 MHz system that allows total interoperability for all public safety agencies, including campus EMS systems, state, federal and local municipality partners.
CCEMS employees are heavily involved in the workings of the agency, as evidenced by employee-designed ambulances, an employee-developed field training officer program, and development of medical and trauma protocols. In addition to its ambulance fleet, the agency has a TEMS team that is fully integrated with law enforcement, and a non-motorized bike team and motorcycle team for use in large-scale public events. District supervisors used as independent duty medic units respond to critical calls as additional resources, as well as to non-emergent calls where transport may not be necessary. CCEMS secured funding for equipment and developed training and protocol for implementation of CPAP treatment; developed hypothermia training and protocol for cardiac arrest patients; and developed and implemented RSI training and protocol.