What Would You Do With 21 ‘Extra’ Years?

Death. It’s a funny thing. Scary, elusive, inevitable. Rodney Koser found a way to beat it. 21 years ago this July, Rodney and his wife Joan were square dancing in East Side Park following the Prairie Pioneer Days parade in Morris. Rodney began having some discomfort in his chest. This was not a new thing for Rodney. What happened next, however, was completely new to Rodney. He collapsed. Dead. Not moving. Not breathing. No pulse. This is where the story gets interesting.  Bystanders took action. They called 911.  They started CPR. When the ambulance arrived they grabbed their AED and attached the pads to Rodney’s chest. The shocked Rodney’s heart several times. They saved Rodney’s life.  Upon arriving at the hospital Rodney was breathing again and he regained consciousness. This was his second chance at life – and he took advantage of it.

Over the years Rodney’s heart continued to be a nuisance at best (he had over 16 stents placed), but he didn’t let that stop him.  As a survivor and as advocates, he and Joan became game changers when it came to AEDs and bystander CPR education.  In 2003, Rodney and Joan attended the NCED conference in Washington D.C. along with several other local representatives where Rodney represented 1 of the 42 people that experience sudden cardiac arrest each hour across the United States. Back then it was difficult to find 42 people that had survived SCA. In 1993 when Rodney had his SCA, it was almost unheard of. People didn’t survive that type of thing and go on to resume their normal life. But Rodney did. Rodney had 21 more years to spend with his wife Joan. He had 21 years to enjoy farming the land – and enjoy it he did. He had 21 more years to tell everyone how a few brave people did CPR and used that little machine that shocked his heart in the park on July 11,1993.  Those people saved his life. Those people gave Rodney 21 more years.

Rodney passed away this past Wednesday. This time, he couldn’t beat it like he did in the park 21 years ago. We’ve lost a great man, a good friend, a loving husband and father, an eager and passionate soul. When I visited with Rodney Wednesday morning he told me with youthful excitement and a glimmer in his eye of the big plans for his ’21st’ birthday party coming up this summer – his re-birthday. The 20 re-birthdays he never would have had.
If Rodney were here today, I imagine his advice would be something like this: Live life. Never take today for granted, because you never know when it might be your last.  He’d also probably tell us all to go out and learn CPR and how to use an AED. And he’d probably tell you that we should have AEDs everywhere – every business, every workplace, every church, every school, every public building, every squad car, every street corner.  And, oh yeah, he’d probably tell you to check the corn in the bins, and turn on the dryers if you need to.
Rodney’s life and his 21 ‘extra’ years are living proof that when people do CPR and use an AED, they save lives. As we’ve done for the past 21 years, we will continue to tell Rodney’s story and make sure that everyone possible has the training to be able to do what those bystanders did for Rodney so many years ago. They gave him years. They gave him time. His time has now come to an end and he will be greatly missed. His story will be told, his legacy will live on, and we will celebrate his life and the 21 years he wouldn’t have had. Rest in peace, Rodney.

EMR (First Responder) Training to Be Offered In Morris

Stevens County EMS Education will be offering an initial Emergency Medical Responder course starting November 5th, 2012.  Before I get into the details of the course, I’ll give a little background on some of the new terminology:

Recently the National EMS Education Standard Curricula were updated to become a set of  ’Standards’ as opposed to a curricula. Along with implementation of the new standards, new certifications were developed to replace the traditional First Responder and EMT titles.  Previously, we had First Responders, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate 85, EMT-Intermediate 99 and EMT-Paramedic. The new terms and certifications are Emergency Medical Responder (formerly First Responder), EMT (formerly EMT-Basic), Advanced EMT and Paramedic. Scopes of practice for these certification levels were also modified in an effort to ensure that on a nation-wide basis we are not only consistent in education levels for various responders, but we also provide scopes of practice that allow for the best, most effective pre-hospital patient care possible at all levels.

So for those ‘old dogs’ out there that have trouble learning new tricks, when you see the term Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), think ‘First Responder’ and you’ll be just fine. It’s not quite the same, but close enough for comparison!

Our upcoming EMR Class will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 10:30. Class is held at the Stevens County Ambulance Training Center – 209 South Hwy 9 in Morris.  The exciting thing about an EMR class is it concentrates on ‘hand-on’ learning, the basic skills one needs to respond and provide emergency medical care during the first crucial minutes of a medical emergency.  EMRs (First Responders) are a critical part of the EMS system and the Chain of Survival.  In Stevens County we are fortunate to have exceptional volunteers that serve on the various First Responder teams in Hancock, Cyrus, Donnelly and Chokio.  If you have ever thought about becoming a first responder or serving on your local first responder team or fire department, or are maybe considering a career in law enforcement or the healthcare field – this class is for you!  Sign up today!

To register for this class or if you’d like more information, contact EMS Education by RWF Enterprises, Inc. email training@stevensems.com, by calling 1-855-88-SAFETY, or locally at 320-589-7421. You can also visit us at www.stevensems.com or ‘like’ us on facebook!

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

Along with Fire Prevention Week, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Awareness Month.  Each year, over 300,000 people die from an Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest – more than HIV/AIDS, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer and Fires combined. It is critical that everyone recognizes the importance of having AEDs available throughout our communities and that we encourage AED/CPR training and have an emergency plan should someone collapse due to SCA.

When someone has a sudden cardiac arrest, there is a critical 3-5 minute window for that person to be saved. The ONLY definitive treatment for SCA is quick bystander CPR and use of an AED. Nationwide, the average survival rate from SCA is a dismal 7%. Fortunately, in our region we see rates upwards of 30-40%, largely due to individuals, businesses, organizations and emergency response agencies providing a rapid response with bystander CPR and use of an AED. Lives are saved when YOU take it upon yourself to know and implement the chain of survival!

The five links in the American Heart Association‘s adult Chain of Survival are:

1) Immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system. Check for ‘signs of life’ including abnormal breathing, no breathing, unresponsive, poor color and seizure-like activity.

2) Early CPR with an emphasis on hard, fast chest compressions.

3) Rapid defibrillation with an Automatic External Defibrillator. Know where the closest AED is, and don’t be afraid to use it!

4) Early access to advanced life support.

5) Integrated post-cardiac arrest care.

Earlier this year legislation was passed in MN to ensure that starting in 2014, all high school students in MN will receive CPR and AED training by the time they graduate.  This is an excellent step in ensuring as many people as possible learn these valuable life-saving skills.

Locally, the Western MN Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association strives to fulfill the mission of the SCAA, which is to improve bystander and emergency response, and promote wider deployment of public-access AEDs.  Through our ‘How To Save A Life’ program, and in partnership with Ringdahl EMS, Stevens County EMS and other EMS organizations, we train thousands of people each year across Minnesota and North Dakota. We also work with local businesses and organizations to implement and maintain AED programs in their homes, businesses, schools and churches.

SCAA is the nation’s leading non-profit public advocacy organization exclusively dedicated to sudden cardiac arrest awareness and prevention. Our Western Minnesota Chapter of the SCAA is led by Randy Fischer. Fischer is a longtime advocate for CPR and AED education and developed the ‘How To Save A Life’ program.

For more information, visit suddencardiacarrest.org or facebook.com/mnscaa. For educational resources, call 1-855-88-SAFETY or contact your local EMS organization. It is our responsibility as a community to shed light on Sudden Cardiac Arrest — and save lives by knowing and implementing the Chain of Survival!

EMT EDUCATION PROGRAMS PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO RURAL EMS SYSTEMS

It seems that nearly every day I hear about another rural ambulance service struggling to fill their on-call schedule, recruit new people and retain the people they have.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier.  For over 30 years, our EMS Education programs have trained hundreds of people to become Emergency Medical Technicians and Emergency Medical Responders (formerly First Responders).  We have also had the opportunity to train thousands of people in first aid, CPR and how to use an AED.  EMS Educators across the country are the ‘unsung heroes’, providing for continued excellence within the EMS profession – and MN continues to be a leader, boasting high quality EMS education and some of the best EMS systems in the country.

Continued interest by people wanting to learn, and support from our communities is critical in ensuring that our rural ambulance services in Minnesota and the Dakotas have the ability to provide continued service. As we begin our 2012-2013 education season, I would encourage everyone to consider taking an EMT or EMR class and getting involved in your community with the local ambulance service or first responder team.   At the very least, EVERYONE should learn basic first aid, how to respond in emergency situations, CPR and how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator.  Stevens County Ambulance and Ringdahl Ambulance Services, along with our EMS Education programs work closely with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association to ensure we reach as many people as possible and communicate the importance of quick bystander action in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.  Our safety training for business and industry assists companies in ensuring their workplace is ready to respond and working to prevent emergencies from happening.We’ve partnered with the University of MN, Morris and Ridgewater College to offer college credits and a very well rounded educational experience for those interested in taking our EMT or EMR training courses.  For current EMTs looking to continue their education, Emergency Training Associates offers a 13th month paramedic training program.

Below you will find the August/September 2012 issue of the Rig Check – a semi-monthly publication to help keep you up to date on the latest happenings within our companies, upcoming classes, interesting articles and perhaps some entertaining reading as well!

Visit your local ambulance service or city hall to find out how you can serve your community as an EMS professional.  Many communites, healthcare organizations and non-profits offer financial support to those interested in becoming certified as an EMR or EMT. 

For more information regarding any of our services, call us toll free at 1-855-88-SAFETY, email us at training@stevensems.com, training@ringdahlems.com or visit our websites to view our training schedules and learn more about our ambulance services and education programs.  Call today, and learn ‘How To Save A Life‘!

 

 

FREE CPR/AED Training & AED Giveaway May 23 7:00pm

Over 300,000 Americans each year suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  Nation-wide, only about 7% of those people survive. Closer to home, we’re seeing survival rates as high as 40-50%. People survive and lives are saved when EVERYONE learns how to do CPR and use an AED.

As part of EMS week, the Western MN Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, along with Stevens County EMS – Morris, MN and Ringdahl EMS – MN & ND are offering FREE CPR/AED training at at least 5 sites across Minnesota and North Dakota. All of the sessions will be held from 7:00-8:00pm. Participants will learn ‘Hands-only’ CPR and how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). Following the 30-40 minute presentation, those in attendance will have an opportunity to practice CPR and AED use as well. At 8:00, all five sites will be linked by ITV and we will hold the drawing for the AED. One AED will be given away to a participant at one of the five locations.

The five training sites include:

Morris, MN – Stevens County Ambulance Service – 209 S Hwy 9

Fergus Falls, MN – Ringdahl Ambulance Service – 314 East Junius Ave.

Pelican Rapids, MN – Ringdahl Ambulance – 41 1st Street NW

Jamestown, ND – Jamestown Area Ambulance – 502 1st Ave. S

Lisbon, ND – First Medic Ambulance Service – 1100 Oak Street

To be eligible for the drawing, participants must:

1) ‘LIKE’ the SCAA Western MN Chapter on Facebook. Go to facebook.com/mnscaa.

2) Sign in at any one of the locations at 7:00pm.

3) Attend the CPR and AED training from 7-8pm.

4) Be present at 8:00pm following the class to be eligible for the AED if your name is picked!

The AED and instructors for this event are provided by Stevens County EMS and Ringdahl EMS.  Stevens County EMS is located in Morris, MN and provides ALS Ambulance Service, Inter-facility Critical Care Transport, and EMS Education to Stevens County and the surrounding area.  Ringdahl EMS has headquarters in Fergus Falls, MN and operates ALS ambulance services and EMS Education in Fergus Falls,MN, Pelican Rapids, MN, Jamestown, ND and Lisbon, ND.

YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS EVENT! Local survivors of sudden cardiac arrest will be in attendance, as well as staff from Stevens County EMS and representatives of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association will be on hand to answer questions and assist with the training. Come learn valuable life-saving skills AND have a chance to win an AED! For more information, email jfischer@stevensems.com, visit facebook.com/mnscaa, suddencardiacarrest.org, stevensems.com or ringdahlems.com.

Cardiac Arrest Survivor Larson and Rescuers to be Honored at Benefit Dinner

On November 29, 2011, Chad Larson’s heart stopped at his home north of Cyrus, MN.  He fell victim to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Thanks to the efforts of bystanders, local first responder teams, ambulance services and hospital staff, Chad’s heart was revived. He beat the odds, and  lived to tell about it.

A benefit dinner and silent auction to help defray Larson’s medical expenses will be held on March 3, 2012 at the Cyrus Elementary School in Cyrus, MN. The silent auction and pulled pork dinner will be available from 4 to 7pm, with free will donations being accepted.  The dinner is being hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church in Cyrus, Hosanna Worship Center of Morris and the Stevens County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. At 6pm that evening, Larson and his rescuers will be honored in a special presentation by the Western MN chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association.

Following his cardiac arrest, Chad was air-lifted from SCMC to St. Cloud Hospital where he underwent therapeutic hypothermia and was placed into a comatose state.  He was brought out of the coma two days later, and responded with remarkable recovery. Chad spent 13 days in the hospital, most of it in the ICU.

“When the Chain of Survival is implemented with CPR and defibrillation by bystanders and local first responders, lives are saved.”, says Josh Fischer of the Western MN Chapter of the SCAA and Operations Director for Stevens County EMS.  Fischer goes on to say, “Chad’s story is an excellent example of quick action by the local first responders and ambulance crews, followed by exemplary care by hospital staff. Without an AED and the quick response of his rescuers, Chad likely would not have lived. ” It is estimated that nearly 300,000 people each year fall victim to Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the United States alone.  The estimated survival rate nationwide is a dismal 7%. More lives can be saved if people learn CPR and how to use an AED.

About the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

SCAA is the nation’s leading non-profit public advocacy organization exclusively

dedicated to sudden cardiac arrest awareness and prevention. Its Western Minnesota Chapter is led by Randy Fischer, a longtime advocate for CPR and AED education.  Fischer is also the President/CEO of Stevens County EMS and Operations Director for Ringdahl EMS serving communities in Minnesota  and North Dakota with headquarters in Fergus Falls, MN. The mission of the SCAA and its local chapters is to improve bystander and emergency response and wider deployment of publicly-accessible AEDs. For more information, please visit www.suddencardiacarrest.org or contact Randy or Josh Fischer at 320-589-7421.

EMT Class begins January 19, 2012 – The Tradition Continues.

For over 30 years Stevens County EMS has been offering Emergency Medical Technician training, educating area students and continuously recruiting individuals interested in providing the highest quality pre-hospital care and education to the citizens of Stevens County and the surrounding area.  2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the first EMT class offered in partnership with the University of MN, Morris.  In 1982, with the help of key staff members including Arden Virnig and Randy Fischer, along with UMM faculty and managment, Stevens County Ambulance Service offered it’s first EMT class eligible for college credit.  That tradition continues today, offering a night EMT class in partnership with UMM and high school EMT and First Responder classes for college credit through Ridgewater College.

Our students learn the basics of pre-hospital care and transportation, management of mass-casualty incidents, patient assessment and treatment, auto extrication, water rescue and much more.  We have been working with the State of MN EMSRB to begin implementing the new National Education Standards which include an expanded scope of practice for EMTs.

Students of the SCAS EMT education programs have gone on to become paramedics, nurses, physician assistants, doctors and more.  We pride ourselves in providing high quality education to our students and knowing that someday one of our students might be the physician in the emergency room, paramedic in the ambulance or nurse in the operating room that will be providing medical care to us!

On Thursday, January 19th, we are excited to welcome our largest class of incoming EMT students in several years and carry of the tradition of excellence that have set our programs above the rest!  For those interested in becoming an EMT, there are still spots available in the class!  Tuition reimbursement programs are available. Call 320-589-7421 or email training@stevensems.com for more information or to register!

October is National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

We just returned from the national conference of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association in Minneapolis.  The mission of the SCAA is to reduce the number of people that die as a result of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) by educating people on the importance of learning CPR and how to use an AED, increasing awareness about the prevalence of SCA, and improving public access to AEDs.

As a training institution authorized by the State of MN EMSRB and the American Heart Association, we at Stevens County EMS are in a unique position to help further the mission of the SCAA and related organizations such as the Minnesota SCA Survivor Network, Take Heart MN, and Allina Heartsafe Communities.

The first Saturday of each month we offer CPR/AED instruction at our facility.  We also provide CPR and AED training to businesses and organizations, as well as First Aid and customized safety education as requested. We work closely with our area first responder teams as well as several area ambulance services, law enforcement agencies and fire departments to help ensure that as many people as possible are ready to respond in the event of a medical emergency.

Through our involvement with the SCAA we offer a program titled ‘How To Save A Life’. This program was written and developed by Randy Fischer.  In just 30 minutes participants learn “hands-only” CPR, how to use an AED and how simple it is for virtually anyone to learn ‘how to save a life’ of a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. In our local chapter alone, we have educated literally thousands of people about the importance of ‘taking action’ when a medical emergency happens. 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest affect over 300,000 victims each year.  If the ‘Chain of Survival’ is not immediately implemented, virtually all of these victims die.  But when bystanders take action, call 911, start CPR and use an AED – LIVES ARE SAVED.  Nearly every day we read another story in the news about how a life was saved by rescuers utilizing an AED.  Nationwide, the survival rate from SCA is a dismal 7%. But in areas with strong public education and ready access to AEDs we see survival rates as high as 30 to 40%. If we could increase survival rates from 7% to 20%, we’d save over 50,000 lives each year!

The Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium led by the University of MN Medical School – Cardiovascular Division recently received a grant from Medtronic Foundation through the Heart Rescue Project.  One of the primary goals of this project is actually quite simple: Increase SCA survival rates by 50% over the next five years.  Using a variety of tools and resources, healthcare agencies and communities all across Minnesota including Stevens County Ambulance will be working toward this common goal. And that’s a wonderful thing…because someday it might be YOUR life that is saved because someone took the time to learn CPR and how to use an AED.

For more information about our CPR, AED and First Aid Education opportunities call us at 320-589-7421, visit Stevens EMS on Facebook or email training@stevensems.com.

Surgeon from HCMC Burn Unit to Speak in Morris on Monday

As part of the Stevens EMS ‘Topics in EMS’ Education Series, Stevens EMS welcomes Dr. Anne Lambert from Hennepin County Medical Center. As we strive to bring top notch EMS education to West Central Minnesota we are fortunate to have Dr. Lambert taking the time to come speak. The topic for the evening will be Assessment and Management of Burns, Hypothermia and Frostbite.

Dr. Lambert is a graduate of North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She completed her residency training in both general surgery and surgical critical care at Hennepin County Medical Center.  Dr. Lambert specializes in trauma, burn, surgical critical care, complex abdominal wall hernias and abdominal wall reconstruction.

The seminar will be held at 7pm at Stevens Community Medical Center in the Multi-Purpose room on the lower level.  Interested individuals may register for the seminar by emailing us at training@stevensems.com or by calling 320-589-7421.  There is no cost to attend and CEUs will be awarded to those in attendance.

The ‘Topics in EMS’ Education Series is sponsored by Stevens EMS and the generous contributions of several organizations.  We are proud to partner with Hennepin County Medical Center for this month’s seminar!