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Tenn. Crews Honored for Lifesaving Efforts

June 04--OAK RIDGE -- For these crews, saving lives isn't that much out of the ordinary.

But recognition isn't as commonplace, and members of the Oak Ridge Fire Department, Anderson County EMS and UT LIFESTAR were recently lauded for their successful emergency response actions during the 7th annual "Star of Life Awards."

The annual recognition, held in Nashville, is presented by the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children Foundation.

The award is designed "to honor Tennessee's excellent prehospital providers for their lifesaving care," said spokeswoman Erin Hummeldorf.

The particular incident drawing attention: Bicyclist Thomas Berg, who had a heart attack and crashed on Bethel Valley Road on March 30, 2014.

Firefighters, followed by Anderson County EMS members, took over lifesaving efforts launched by Berg's companion, David Smallwood, and UT LIFESTAR flew Berg to University of Tennessee Medical Center.

"Today, Mr. Berg has made a full recovery and is once again enjoying cycling," Hummeldorf said in a news release.

Honored were firefighters Marty Griffith, Eric Mocsari, Steve London, Duane Chase and Thomas Giles; EMTs Natalie Waddell and Zachary Panter; and LIFESTAR employees Terry Neal, Gary Reams, Jason Lewis, Tim King and Fred Yahr.

Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley said during the last 14 months, members of the fire department have saved the lives of nine people "who were dead when we arrived, but later walked out of the hospital."

That's pretty significant in a town of 29,000 residents, Kerley said. He said each response vehicle, including fire engines, is equipped with advanced life support gear.

There are three trained emergency responders on each fire engine, the chief said, and that's how many are needed to launch effective lifesaving efforts.

Copyright 2015 - The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

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