Veteran Okla. Firefighter Honored by NREMT for Milestone

June 29--EDMOND -- A national EMT body has recognized an Edmond firefighter who has reached a significant milestone.

Edmond Fire Department spokesman Brian Davis said Firefighter Marcus Ferguson recently was recognized by the Board of Directors of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians for achieving 30 consecutive years as a nationally registered EMT.

"This distinction is an honor held by few EMTs," Davis said.

Edmond Fire Chief Jake Rhoades said the fact that Ferguson has maintained his EMT licensure for 30 years is an amazing accomplishment and speaks volumes to his dedication and service as a member of the Edmond Fire Department.

"Anyone that knows Marcus can clearly see his love for the job and serving the community," Rhoades said.

Davis said to maintain his status as a Nationally Registered EMT, Ferguson completed on a biennial basis the most comprehensive recertification program for EMTs in America.

Ferguson not only completed courses to refresh his fundamental knowledge and skills but also attended a minimum of two hours a month of additional continuing education courses to advance his knowledge on new lifesaving skills, Davis said.

Ferguson, who was nationally registered as an EMT in 1984 and has been serving the City of Edmond community since 1982, said the recognition was a surprise. Prior to this position, Ferguson served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Davis said when he was born his father was a firefighter in Oklahoma City.

"You hear a lot of people talk about their first tricycle and such," he said. "I had a little fire engine pedal car."

He also had a fire chief helmet from Texaco for Christmas and a used a microphone to give orders to everyone while he was driving around imagining he was a firefighter. One of his earliest memories is his father taking him to an Oklahoma City fire station to watch a fire safety film.

Ferguson has seen a lot of changes in the fire service including the dramatic increase in the number of medical calls, and changes in how firefighters respond to those calls.

When he first joined the Fire Department, personnel assisted AmCare, Ferguson said. Now they have advanced training so they can do anything Emergency Medical Services Authority personnel can do except transport, Ferguson said. If needed, they can ride in the ambulance to assist EMSA.

During the 1980s, with CPR for example, firefighters at a scene would pitch in and help, Ferguson said. Now, they use the "pit stop" method, which involves one at the head and one at the foot doing things like IVs and watching monitors, and two on the sides doing compressions. There's always an officer who oversees the process, gets information from the family and times the compressions to keep personnel fresh.

"That really keeps our compressions more consistent so that we're able to give better circulation to the patient," Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the number of compressions has increased from 60 per minute to 120 per minute now plus five breaths. Ferguson said more compressions keep more oxygen in the blood going to the brain, increasing chances of survival.

Ferguson said he felt called to be a firefighter and it has been an honor to serve Edmond residents.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians serves as the national EMS certification organization.

Copyright 2014 - The Edmond Sun, Okla.