Firehouse Central 2009 Kicks Off in Atlanta

Firehouse Central, EMS Expo and Enforcement Expo Southeast opened together Wednesday in Atlanta, Ga., combining forces to create the most comprehensive public safety event in the industry, presenting new opportunities for crossover training and networking. The event was also co-located once again with the NAEMT Annual Meeting.

The event's Opening Ceremony included several traditions.

Memorial Honorees

Representatives of the National EMS Memorial Service shared a video featuring the honorees of the past year, and asked for a moment of silence for all U.S. EMS providers who have been reported to have died in the line of duty. The emotional presentation offers attendees a way to participate in honoring their fallen colleagues even if they have not been able to attend the yearly service.

The 2009 EMS Magazine Gold Award Winners

EMS Magazine honors two organizations each year, one volunteer and one paid. This year's Gold Award was sponsored by Emergency Products + Research, GKR Industries, Impact Instrumentation and ZOLL Medical Corporation.

The winning volunteer agency was Atlantic Highlands (N.J) First Aid & Safety Squad.

In 2008, the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, Office of EMS named the AHFAS the Outstanding Volunteer EMS Agency of the Year for being "an active, progressive emergency medical services organization dedicated to serving its community and surrounding areas."

"We chose for them for the same reasons," said EMS Magazine Publisher Scott Cravens, as he presented the award.

"Winning this national award is recognition for the dedication of the men and women of the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad," said Chief Richard Huff in a prepared statement. "Day in and day out the members devote their personal time, and time away from their families, to help their neighbors and seek nothing in return. This is a true honor."

The winning paid agency was Mecklenburg County (N.C.) EMS Agency, which came to the conference with a busload of responders to receive the award. The agency is the busiest service in its state with a staff of 425, Cravens said. "They're not all coming onto the stage," he joked.

The agency was selected because new protocols and equipment are constantly being introduced to improve practices, Cravens said. In 2009 alone, additions included: focused cardiac arrest scene management; dedicated BLS/ALS teams; Code Cool protocol, using hypothermic therapy for cardiac arrest patients in the field; and the use of intraosseous lines on all adult SCA patients.

"People here work really hard at improving patient care every day," said Director of Public Relations Jeff Keith in a prepared statement, "and to have someone else recognize our efforts and tell us, 'You're among the best in the country,' will generate tremendous pride. This is fantastic."

For further details on these award winners see the October issue of EMS Magazine.

Robert G. Nixon Scholarship


Also announced were the winners of the recently established Robert G. Nixon Scholarship, created to honor the legacy of this author, speaker, mentor, EMS Magazine advisory board member, and overall figure in EMS education. Nixon passed away in June 2008 after battling skin cancer.

The two scholarships, awarded by Nixon's sister, each consist of a three-day EMS EXPO registration and $1,000 to pay for travel expenses. The awards went to Mac Kemp, deputy chief of operations for Leon County EMS in Tallahassee, Fla., and Ron Freemont, NREMT-I, of Decatur, Neb.

EMT and Paramedic of the Year Awards

NAEMT President Patrick Moore announced this year's EMT of the Year and Paramedic of the Year Awards. Chris M. Honda, of Hilo, Hawaii, was presented the Paramedic of the Year award while Linda Smith of Phillip, South Dakota was honored with EMT of the Year. For further details visit NAEMT Announces Awards at Annual Meeting.