MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
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This years National EMS Week is May 18 through 24. The theme is, "EMS: Dedicated. For Life." National Emergency Medical Services Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine's "front line." This information can be used throughout the year for public education and safety programs.
The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has a large contingent of personnel that demonstrate "dedication" in every aspect of their job. Every firefighter is also trained, at a minimum, as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Many continue their medical training and become fully accredited Paramedics that can administer medications, apply 18 lead EKG's, read EKG's, defibrillate, maintain airways and many more pre-hospital advance life support measures.
The Fire/EMS Department invites our media to join us in celebrating EMS Week. Consider an interview with our recently awarded Gold Medal in EMS Excellence and Paramedic of the Year Katie Johnson, our Medical Director Dr. Terry Jodrie, our EMT, Paramedic Instructors or any of our recent recipients of medals for Excellence in EMS. Consider riding along with our paramedics and witness first hand what a day in the life of a paramedic is all about,
Whatever it is you would like to do to highlight our EMS Staff this is the time of year to make it happen. To set up interviews, phone or in-person, live or taped, and to set-up a ride-along with a Paramedic unit please call (240-508-7930), or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interviews and ride-along can be done at anytime starting today through the end of EMS Week.
For additional information on EMS Week, click here.
Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
GOLD MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN EMS
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC TECHNICIAN KATHERINE P. JOHNSON
Over the past year, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Johnson became a county certified paramedic. On the morning of August 7, 2013, Paramedic Johnson was off duty and driving down a narrow, one-lane road known for deadly motor vehicle accidents, she came across upon a Camaro that had crossed the center line and collided with an SUV in a T-bone style collision. The scene was still, without any movement from either vehicle and no rescue vehicles in sight. Johnson immediately stopped her own vehicle and sprang into action. She sized up the scene and called 911, relaying imperative information to ensure additional units and a helicopter were dispatched.
Despite not having any personal protective equipment, Johnson grabbed a small first aid kit from her vehicle and headed to the most damaged car. Inside the Camaro were three sisters, ages 20, 17 and 10. They had been on their way to an appointment for senior portraits. The 17-year-old passenger suffered the full force of impact and was completely entangled in the wreckage. Technician Johnson checked for signs of life and found none. Being alone, she had to make the extremely tough decision to move on and help the other victims.
The 20-year-old driver was motionless and not breathing. She felt for a pulse and adjusted the airway so it opened, and the girl took a breath. Recognizing her breathing was inadequate, she used a CPR mask provided by police who were now on the scene. Johnson provided ventilations and maintained an open airway until another unit could arrive and take over patient care.
Johnson could hear the moans of another victim that could not be seen. A 10-year-old girl, Peyton Curl, was underneath the vehicle wreckage. Again without the protection of personal protective equipment, Johnson entered the vehicle and started to remove items from around the victim.
As more units and personnel arrived on the scene, Johnson was able to perform a rapid trauma assessment, vitals, establish an IV, and give pain management drugs. But, most importantly, she was able to keep the 10-year-old girl calm and still during the tedious extrication process. She guided the placement of hydraulic tools assisted with operations from her position inside the vehicle, due to the limited access of the operators. After a 20-minute extrication process, the child was removed from the wreckage. Johnson accompanied the girl into an awaiting BLS transport unit and continued patient care with other providers, including stabilization of fractures, establishing additional IV with fluid therapy, and other Advanced Life Support capabilities. She remained with the child until the unit was ready to transport to the helicopter landing zone.
If not for Fire Fighter/Medic Johnson’s immediate actions, there would have been two fatalities. Her ability to stay calm and perform her duties, command a scene, and instruct others in the extrication of these severely injured girls deeply impacted the outcome of the situation for the. Without bodily protection, she selflessly placed herself in harm’s way, where she remained until the last patient was removed.
For great personal risk and outstanding execution of advanced life support, Fire Fighter/Medic Katherine P. Johnson is awarded a Gold Medal for Excellence in EMS and is recognized as 2013 Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Departments Paramedic of the Year.