EMS recognized for safety education efforts
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor
Award Winners
Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services was presented Texas Department of State Health Services' "Public Information/Injury Prevention Award" during the Texas EMS Conference 2005, held Nov. 22, in Austin. Pictured with the award are EMS personnel Gari Sansing, Janet Currin, shift supervisor Danny Wilburn, Director of EMS Mark Potter, shift supervisor Cathy Halter and Larry Cone.
Staff Photo by Faith Huffman
Nov. 28, 2005 - Texas Department of State Health Services honored Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services personnel last week for the department's continued efforts to inform the public on community safety education and injury prevention issues throughout the year.

Mark Potter, director of Hopkins County EMS, accepted the “Public Information/Injury Prevention Award” Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the awards luncheon held during the Texas EMS Conference 2005 in Austin.

“It was quite a shock on Tuesday at the awards banquet when they called us,” Potter said Monday morning. “This is an event where they give awards to the provider and EMS person of the year. We were the first one on the agenda to be announced the winner. It was quite a surprise. I didn't even know we'd been nominated. It's pretty neat to get something like this.”

“They do so much and help us out a lot,” HCMH Marketing Director Sherry Moore said Monday morning of the marketing department's role in nominating the EMS service for the award. “We wouldn't be able to do nearly as much as we do in the marketing department without their help. They are so helpful to us as well as the community.”

The EMS department was nominated by the hospital's marketing department based on personnel's participation in bicycle safety rodeos, Halloween safety, vehicular safety, as well as standbys at local high school sporting events, community rodeos, bike races and running events.

EMS utilized its own funds to purchase Andy the ambulance, the remote controlled “talking” mini-ambulance used at local elementary schools to teach children about home safety, fire safety, “stranger danger,” bicycle safety, seat belt safety and Halloween safety. They also teach for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts upon request.

“In order to attend the community events they have to be willing to work together to cover for each other while part of their six-person shift is on site teaching. I have observed that they are supportive of those who are out of pocket doing the instructing,” Moore wrote in her recommendation application.

She also noted that seven of the 18 critical care paramedics on staff are CPR and first-aid instructors who work with the hospital's education department to facilitate classes for the community as well as hospital staff. Approximately 400 receive instruction in CPR and 100 in first-aid annually.

They have also worked closely with the marketing department for the last five years, setting up the bike safety course first taught to two fifth grade classes then to Sulphur Springs first graders annually, as well as in rural schools. The bike safety rodeo is also hosted at annual events such as the Kids Safe Saturday, Hopkins County Dairy Festival and Hopkins County Fall festival. This year the bike safety course won first place as the best kids' safety exhibit at the Kids Safe Saturday. Over the last five years, nearly 1,600 bike helmets have been distributed to those attending the bike safety courses.

In addition to manning a standby ambulance at Sulphur Springs, Como-Pickton and Cooper football games, the EMS department also presents the drunk driving awareness/safety programs called “Every 15 minutes” and “shattered dreams” at Sulphur Springs and Cooper High Schools.

Moore also noted that the EMS personnel staff an ambulance at Cooper Lake on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, giving away life vests and sunscreen to the 15,000 people visiting the lake during the holidays.

“Even with all the community events that our EMS personnel participate in, they answer over 5,000 emergency and nearly 1,000 transfer calls in any given year. This group is dedicated to saving lives and giving of themselves to help prevent as much injury and loss of life as possible. They teach, they train, they go, they render aid and they act courageously when the need arises,” Moore concluded in the nomination application submitted Oct. 1 to TDSHS.

In addition to receiving the engraved glass award, HCMH EMS is also slated to be recognized in EMS Magazine for their award.

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