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Leland Fire/Rescue repeats as N.C.'s top paramedic team


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Greensboro, N.C. -A Leland Fire/Rescue team from Brunswick County won top recognition among its peers for a second consecutive year as the state's top paramedics following a competition held as part of the Emergency Medicine Today Conference.

Brunswick County's Chris Watford and Michael Herbert out-performed contenders from five regional championships in Sunday's 23rd annual North Carolina Paramedic Competition held at the Joseph S. Koury Center. Teams from Cumberland, Davidson, Pender, Rowan and Surry counties rounded out the competition. The competition is co-sponsored by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. college of Emergency Physicians and participating community colleges.

The winners were announced Tuesday night at an awards banquet. DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, addressing the more than 900 emergency responders and their guests during the dinner, praised the jobs they do and the roles they fill in providing pre-hospital care.

"You are all essential to making this critical component of our health care system work efficiently and effectively across our state," Wos said. "As EMS workers and volunteers, you all know and value the importance of teamwork. We at DHHS understand and appreciate our role as part of that team and I assure you that we will continue to work as partners with you to support the vital role you play."

Regina Godette-Crawford, head of the state's Office of Emergency medical Services, offered congratulations to all the teams involved in the competition. "All these teams are winners," she said. "These EMS teams represent the best of the best, and we're proud of them all. They did an outstanding job with the scenario they each faced."

The performance of each team was timed and graded before an audience of hundreds of peers.

The teams were sequestered, and each was called out to face the mock disaster scenario: a leaking propane tank that caused an explosion at a remote liquor still. The explosion severely burned its operator and resulted in burns and a compound fracture in the right arm of the operator's grandson as the teenager tried to run from the explosion. After care was being administered to the two explosion victims, a hunter with a bow stumbled into the clearing saying he'd just killed a deer, tried to carry it out of the woods and suddenly didn't feel well. He collapsed, the apparent victim of a heart attack. It was a busy 13 minutes for each team.

The competition provides a training opportunity not only for the competitors, but for the 400 or so paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians watching from bleachers who closely observe each team's analysis and reaction to the scenario. Teams are judged on professionalism, communication, patient rapport, conduct, attitude, appearance and attire.

Through the Office of Emergency Medical Services, the Department of Health and Human Services works to foster emergency medical systems, trauma systems and credentialed EMS personnel to improve in providing responses to emergencies and disasters, which will result in higher quality emergency medical care being delivered to the residents and visitors of North Carolina.

Photo: TV's Emergency star Randy Mantooth, left, who played paramedic/firefighter John Gage in the 1970s series, was on hand to congratulate winners (left to right) Chris Watford and Michael Herbert, and their chief, John Grimes.

Photo: DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos addresses EMS audience in Greensboro Tuesday night.


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