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Three Fire Departments to be Honored for Excellence in Emergency Medical Services by MedicAlert Foundation and CFSI


Third Annual Excellence Award Presentation at 25th National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 9, 2013) – The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and MedicAlert Foundation recognized the innovation and leadership of three fire departments with the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award at the 25th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner tonight at the Washington Hilton. The honorees were the Snohomish County Fire Protection District #1 (WA), Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (FL), and Montgomery County, Maryland Fire and Rescue Service (MD).

In its third year, the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards program showcases fire departments for best practices and innovative solutions in the delivery of emergency medical services. CFSI and MedicAlert Foundation established the awards program to promote innovative emergency medical services programs as models for other fire departments around the country to consider adopting to enhance the services they provide in their communities.   

The three fire departments – 2 career and 1 combination – presented with the third annual Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards:

  • Snohomish County Fire Protection District #1 (Career): Introduction of an EMS checklist to improve the quality of patient care through the consistent and uniform application of best practices, regardless of extraneous variables found on the scene of each medical emergency.
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (Career): An aggressive infection control program to provide continuity of medical care, rapid treatment and supportive education and psychological support for emergency providers exposed to communicable diseases.
  • Montgomery County, Maryland Fire and Rescue Service (Combination): Innovations in cardiac care through enhanced training, and advanced EKG monitoring/coordination with receiving hospitals to significantly improve EMS to catheterization lab times.

[Note:  A summary noting the outstanding accomplishments of each winner follows]

“Fire Service-Based EMS continues to develop innovative approaches for providing the best level of emergency medical services in the country,” said CFSI President Bill Jenaway. “CFSI is proud to co-sponsor the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Award Program with the MedicAlert Foundation to recognize those fire departments on the forefront in EMS delivery innovations – innovations necessitated by changing demographics, increased call volumes, better information, changing technology and budget constraints that have impacted many jurisdictions across the nation.”

“The ingenuity exhibited by these fire departments to ensure they deliver exceptional emergency medical care, shows the depth of their dedication to the communities they serve,” said Andrew B. Wigglesworth, President and Chief Executive Officer of MedicAlert Foundation. “We partnered with CFSI to establish this excellence award in an effort to recognize outstanding performance by fire service-based EMS programs and to promote these best practices as a resource supporting the changing needs of first responder programs nationwide.”

Approximately 1,800 fire and emergency services leaders from across the nation attended the National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and joined in paying tribute to the dedication and commitment of the nation’s fire and emergency services. Hosted by CFSI, the annual Dinner benefits the mission of the nonprofit policy organization, which is designed to educate members of Congress about fire and life safety issues.

About Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI)

Established in 1989, the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute that works with members of Congress in promoting fire and life safety issues. Working with other national fire service organizations, the Institute focuses its attention on issues that benefit all first responders. Members of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, the largest caucus in Congress, look to CFSI for guidance and information to enhance their level of understanding about the challenges and needs of our nation’s fire and EMS communities. For more information on CFSI, visit

About MedicAlert Foundation

Established in 1956, the nonprofit MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the use of medical IDs and delivers the most dependable, responsive, intelligent and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. MedicAlert provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service. MedicAlert Foundation International medical IDs alert emergency personnel to a member’s primary health conditions, medications or implanted medical devices. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation International also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. Visit for more information.


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Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS Awards Winners

Snohomish County Fire Protection District #1, Everett, Washington (Career)
The Snohomish County Fire Protection District #1 provides service to the more than 195,000 residents within the district it serves. It is estimated that the District responds to approximately 19,000 emergencies annually in the southern portion of the Snohomish County, 77% of which are medical-related.

Quality patient care is achieved through a consistent and uniform application of best practices, regardless of extraneous variables encountered at each medical emergency. To provide for a uniform care of patients, Snohomish County Fire Protection District #1 introduced a unique checklist practice this year. The checklist program assists the EMS team in applying best practices to consistently make positive differences in patient outcomes. It should be noted, that the in-field checklists do not replace standard protocols; they simply highlight critical areas of protocols that should not be missed.

This successful EMS checklist program has now been studied by the county EMS policy development committee for possible future adoption as a standard for more than 20 EMS and fire agencies which operate in the surrounding area. Snohomish County Fire District No. 1 has also presented the checklist program to the state of Washington’s Department of Health as a tool for other EMS agencies to meet key performance measures.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Miami, Florida (Career)
Considered a leader in the delivery of Emergency Medical Service (EMS), the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team serves 2.2 million residents and 1 million annual visitors in a region covering 1,905 square miles.

MDFR recently renewed its commitment to employee safety by reengineering and expanding its infection control program. The main purpose of this program is to provide a continuity of medical care, rapid treatment and supportive education and psychological support for emergency providers exposed to communicable diseases. The program was designed to prevent lapses in medical care for MDFR’s EMS employees and provide for immediate treatment for prophylactic medical counter-measures in as little as one-hour. The success of this program has led to a decline in significant exposures and emphasizes the priority of the MDFR to provide the highest standard of care.

Montgomery County, Maryland Fire and Rescue Service, Gaithersburg, Maryland (Combination)

The Montgomery County, Maryland Fire and Rescue Service established its Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) program in response to the American College of Cardiology’s recommendation to have ST elevation myocardial infarction patients receive definitive care within 90 minutes.

MCFRS increased the number of ALS staffed engines to 26 with four personnel on each apparatus and one crew member functioning as a paramedic. In addition to the staffing improvement, each ALS engine was fully equipped to include 12-lead EKG monitoring with transmission capability to receiving hospitals.

In 2011, MCFRS partnered with PCI hospitals located within its jurisdiction, to implement the LifeNet system of EKG. This system allows the paramedic to quickly transmit the first diagnostic EKG directly to the receiving emergency physician and cardiologist for the STEMI response team. It should be noted that in 2001, MCFRS improved the overall treatment of patients experiencing STEMI by achieving the 90-minute catheterization goal 91% of the time; as compared to the national average of 75%. In 2012 the 90-minute catheterization goal was met 93.7% of the time.

Friday, May 10, 2013