MAHS EMT Students Visit HCMC

Students from the Morris Area High School EMT class had an opportunity to visit Hennepin County Medical Center recently.  While there, the students participated in high fidelity simulated training scenarios in the HCMC “Sim-Center”, learned more about the various careers available in the medical fields, and toured various departments at HCMC including the ED, EMS, NICU, Hyperbaric Medicine and Poison Control Center. Students attending included Eric Staebler, Maddie Richardson, Trent Ostby, Emma Zosel, Matthew Vinson, Dalton Uphoff, Lindsay Flogstad, Carlie Zimmel and Nick Boots. Instructors for the class are Josh Fischer and Jessica Velde.IMG_4581







Now in its 25th year, the Emergency Care program at MAHS is provided through the Stevens County Ambulance Service EMS Education department. The program provides students with valuable medical education, as well as college credit through a partnership with Ridgewater College.  The program has educated over 500 students since its inception, with over half of those students going on to careers in the healthcare field, many returning to rural areas.








“With rural healthcare sustainability continuing to be a topic of discussion, we are fortunate to be able to offer these students a launching pad into the medical field. It is a great benefit to the students individually, and also has proven to bring high quality medical professionals back to our rural areas to practice.” says Josh Fischer, Director of Stevens County Ambulance Service and course instructor for the MAHS EIMG_4585 mergency Care program. “Being able to partner with HCMC to provide the students with opportunities like this is a great way to expose them to some of the options they have as they go on to pursue careers in healthcare and other fields.”

For more information about the MAHS Emergency Care program, contact the Stevens County EMS Education Department at 320-589-7421.

(Photos attached. Photo Credit: Ross Chavez, HCMC) IMG_4589

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EMS Week Open House May 21, 4-7pm in Morris

EMS Week 2014 is next week, May 19-23. This is an annual opportunity for us as an ambulance service to recognize the support of our communities. It is also an opportunity to specifically recognize the dedication and commitment made on an ongoing basis by the many men and women that serve as first responders, EMTs, and paramedics. Here in Stevens County, we have over 100 people that serve as volunteers responding to medical calls for service. These people include first-responders that serve on one of the following first-responder teams: Donnelly Fire Rescue, Chokio First Responders, Hancock First Responders, Herman First Responders, Cyrus First Responders.  These people also include our local fire departments and law enforcement agencies, and the 50+ people that serve as EMTs and Paramedics with the Stevens County Ambulance Service and Ortonville Ambulance Service.

We invite you to stop down on Wednesday, May 21, from 4 to 7.  We’ll have hot dogs and brats on the grill, CPR demonstrations, tours of our new ambulance, fire truck tours, and more! We’ll also be recognizing Jim Gillis for his 21 years of service to SCAS and congratulating him on his retirement.  So please stop down and come visit us on Wednesday!  We’ll see you then!

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, by calling 1-855-88-SAFETY, or locally at 320-589-7421. You can also visit us at 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 or 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!