Dec 10, 2014 - 01:56 pm CST

ATCEMS Twitter Abbreviations and Commonly Used Terms

The following abbreviations are provided as a courtesy to our twitter followers so that you may better follow and understand the information contained in our tweets.  We pride ourselves on accuracy and timeliness of the information that we provide and our attempts to get as much information out in a single 140 character tweet can be challenging, thus the reason for our use of these abbreviations. 

** Please note that ages, locations, and injuries reported in our tweets will be based on approximations and kept general to protect Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Protected Health Information (PHI) of our patients.  Injuries reported are a working diagnosis based on field presentation, medical impressions, provider interpretation, and not official until confirmed in an emergency room. These abbreviations may change without notice and we will make every attempt to update these changes on this document should this occur.

Incident Info

~ - approximate or estimated

adult (ad) – 18yoa and over

AFD – Austin Fire Department

alt – alternate

ATC – Austin – Travis County

ATCEMS – Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services

APD – Austin Police Department

BgWhl - "Big Wheel" (single wheeled extrication device used to move patients across rough terrain or trails)

blk – block

cncl - cancel

cncl'd - canceled

CO – carbon monoxide

CPR – Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation

crit - Critical or life threatening

DOS - Deceased on scene

DPS – Texas Department of Public Safety

entrapped (entrapment) - patient trapped in vehicle due to structural damage or vehicle positioning, use of rescue tools required

ER – emergency room

eval – evaluated or evaluating

Ext - Extrication – can mean utilizing the “Jaws of Life” to remove patient from a vehicle; can also mean removing patient from a wilderness area; Extremity (ies) - usually identified as upper or lower

F – female

FD – fire department

frntg – frontage [road]

grnd – ground

GSW - gun shot wound

H2O - water

Hwy – highway

inj (s) – injury or injuries

LTI – life threatening injuries

M – male

MC – motorcycle

MCC - motorcycle collision

MCI- Mass casualty incident (a high number of patients)

min - minimal or minor (usually referring to injuries)

MTF - more to follow

mult (i) - multiple

MVC - Motor vehicle collision

NLTI – non life-threatening injuries

NoPt - "No Patient" (persons involved in an incident without complaint or injury not requiring evaluation, treatment or transport)

pckg – packaging; preparing a patient for extrication or transport to an ER

PED - Pedestrian

pedi - Pediatric (child 12yoa and under)

pinin (pinned) - patient has some part(s) of their body physically entangled by vehicle, use of rescue tools required

pot. – potential

Pronouncement – pronounced Deceased on scene by ATCEMS medics

pt (s) - Patient or patients

ResQ – rescue. Active search for presumed viable patient.

Rcvry – recovery. Rescue conversion for presumed non-viable patient.

RU (s) – refusal or refusals

SAR – Search and Rescue

semi - 18 wheeler/ tractor trailer

SF - STARflight aeromedical helicopter

SvRd – service road

teen – 13-17yoa

TC – Travis County

TCSO – Travis County Sheriff’s Office

ttl – total

txpt or txpt’d or txpt’ing - transport , transported or to (hospital)

uncon - unconscious

unk – unknown

w/ - with

WCEMS - Williamson County EMS

WilCo - Williamson County

w/o – without

 

Direction

E - East

EB - eastbound

N - North

NB - northbound

S - South

SB - southbound

W - West

WB - westbound

 

Weather

ADVY – Advisory.  Weather conditions that are less serious than a warning that may threaten life and/or property.

NWS – National Weather Service

T-storm – thunderstorm

Wrng – warning.  Hazardous weather is occurring, imminent, or poses a threat to life or property.

Wtch – watch.  Used when the risk of a hazardous weather has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain.

Wx – Weather

 

HOSPITALS

CPMC – Cedar Park Regional Medical Center

DCMC – Dell Children’s Medical Center (children’s trauma center)

DSMC - Dell Seton Medical Center (trauma center)

HH – Heart Hospital

BSWLW – Baylor Scott & White Lakeway

NAMC – North Austin Medical Center

NAMCCH - North Austin Medical Center Childrens Hospital

RRMC - St David’s Round Rock Hospital (trauma center)

SAMC – St David’s South Austin Hospital

SAMMC – San Antonio Military Medical Center

SDCC – St David’s Children’s Center @ North Austin

SHC – Seton Hays County

SNW – Seton Northwest Hospital

SSW – Seton Southwest Hospital

STDH – St David’s Hospital

STDHBC - St David's freestanding ER Bee Cave

STDHCP - St David's freestanding ER Cedar Park

STDHPF - St David's freestanding ER Pflugerville

SWillco – Seton William County (trauma center)

BSWRR – Baylor Scott & White Round Rock

WMC – Westlake Medical Center

Aug 05, 2014 - 12:04 pm CDT

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Special Operations Rescue Paramedics, along with AFD, conducted boat operator training over a two week period in July at Decker Lake.

Training consisted of inflatable rubber boat (IRB) & trailer training and re-familiarization, motor training & re-familiarization, IRB maintenance & cleaning, & of course time out on the water, "tiller time".

ATCEMS operates 5 Zodiac 420s outfitted with 40hp Evinrude E-tec engines.

[flickr-photoset:id=72157646191272951,size=n]

 

Aug 04, 2014 - 05:02 pm CDT

July's Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services and Austin Fire Department Special Operations joint training was Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, & Explosive (CBRNE) sampling.  This training was a continuation of the May Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Training that included a brief classroom session was followed by three practical stations covering the decontamination trailer, utilization of monitoring tools, and donning and doffing protective gear and obtaining samples.

         

Jul 25, 2013 - 03:24 pm CDT

When EMS Captain Randy Trinkle was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision on the morning of December 1st 2012, it was a shock to everyone.   Two days prior Captain Trinkle and a team of Special Operations medics had competed in the annual Urban Shield Exercise with teams from AFD,  Dallas Fire, San Antonio, and as far away as New Orleans Fire Dept.   After the competition, the teams shared pizza and laughs together.  Someone suggested they take a group picture to remember the day, but sadly the picture was never taken.  

On the night of December 1st Captain Trinkle’s friends came together at Station 17 to grieve the loss of their dear friend and coworker.  Randy loved Station 17, it was his Special Operations home.  That night everyone realized the station did not have a flagpole to lower to half-mast.  Lowering a flag to half-mast when someone passes away is a symbol of honor and sacrifice.  It also shows support, grief, as well as unity.    

The idea to build a flagpole at Station 17 was born that night out of love and respect for Captain Trinkle.  “The process for submitting the request and gaining approval for the flagpole was complicated, and we didn’t know how we were going to raise the money for the project, we just knew we had to do it” said Spec Ops team member and Randy’s friend, Medic Dean Aarniokoski. 

Dean says “We started by sending an email to Randy’s Specs Ops family, and that was all it took.  Things started to move”.  A team assembled and Dean volunteered to lead the project.  Medics Mike Saia and Michael Kittok came up with a creative way to raise money for the project by making decks of playing cards with photos of all the Spec Ops teammates.  They offered the playing cards for sale to anybody who wanted to purchase them and donated the proceeds to the flagpole fund.   

“While Mike and Michael sold the playing cards I focused on getting the service quotes for the labor and materials” Dean says.  EMS Commander Scott Lindsey offered to help with the City’s approval process by submitting the appropriate paperwork and quotes.  “Although we had the moral support from some key members of the Department including our Special Operations Division Chief Mikel Kane, we didn’t know how long the process for approval would take” Dean stated, “A few months passed and we started to get discouraged.”  Then one day, Commander Lindsley announced that Chief Rodriguez had approved the flagpole and the City of Austin had signed off on the project.  They finally had the green light! 

The team agreed on a 20’ flagpole and contacted Texas Gas to come out and mark the spot for its placement in front of Station 17.“The next phase of the project truly touched me” Dean says, “We had a big portion of the money we needed thanks to Saia and Kittok, but in all honesty we were still a little short.”   Dean says he told himself “I’m not going to let Randy down so I’m just going to make up the difference.”  However, when Dean’s friends heard that he was planning on making up the difference with his own money, Medic Arista Blouin said, “No way, watch what happens!”   Arista sent an email to the team letting them know that they were still a little short of the goal, and anyone who wanted to chip in could still make a donation towards the flagpole project.

“It was like a Jerry Lewis telethon!” Dean says, “Emails and donations came pouring in from teammates in Rescue and Tactical”.  In a matter of days, the team had more than enough funds to pay for the flag, the pole and all of the supplies.  There was even a little left over to create a Spec Ops team flag.

Now they could begin the process of building the flagpole!  One more email was sent asking for help with the labor, and once again there was no shortage of volunteers.   Captain Mark Hawkins used his truck; he and Dean delivered the pole and supplies to Station 17. Commander Janelle Boone led the ground breaking by digging a 3’ foot hole through tough limestone.   Medics Michael Kittok, Walter Finch, Josh Todd, Craig Smith and Lee Nudelman took turns hammering on the limestone with a “rock bar” tool.  When the hole was finally finished and the concrete poured, the team used the technology of an IPHONE app to level the surface.

A few days later, Mike Kittok, Kevin Harner, Dean Aarniokoski and a few other volunteers poured the concrete base.  Mike Kittok and the Norton Tool rep cut and measured the base and Kevin Harner and Jason Akers used a “pie cutter” to smooth it.  Finally, the flagpole was raised and Station 17 had its tribute to Randy.  EMS Captains Ken Larsen, Craig Smith and a few others are creating a plaque for Captain Trinkle and they hope to dedicate the flagpole on December 1, 2013.

Captain Trinkle served this community for many years and was a positive influence to his coworkers and teammates.   He was a friend to all who knew him and his loss was hard on everyone in the department.  Dean tells us “Randy loved his career as we all do.  Our hope is when the years pass and we are all gone, the flagpole and plaque will serve as a symbol of how much Captain Trinkle meant to all of us.  The tragedy of his death is a moment in our lives we will never forget.”   He adds, “The flagpole is also a reminder of how a group of people came together and made this possible. It was an extraordinary effort by everyone involved and as a team we are proud of our accomplishment.” 

View the photo gallery for the Station 17 Flagpole Project

   

Jun 11, 2013 - 04:02 pm CDT

ATCEMS Commander Michael Broadwater spoke to press about water safety today at Deep Eddy Pool

Summer is officially here and school has been released until fall. Thoughts turn to vacations and summer activities including swimming and water sports. The Central Texas region enjoys an abundance of water in our lakes, rivers and many public pools. With that attraction, the inevitable risk of water-related injuries is always present. 

On Monday, Austin had five near-drowning incidents that included one fatality and two serious injuries:

1. Just after noon, EMS responded to the Dottie Jordan Park and Playground at 2803 Loyola Lane, for 7 and 10 year old victim. The younger victim clutched the older victim, they both went under and were immediately pulled from the water by a City of Austin Parks lifeguard.

2. At 2:08 p.m. paramedics were called to the Red Roof Inn at 8210 N I-35. Bystanders pulled a 7 year old from the water and started CPR until help arrived.  EMS continued CPR on the scene for more than 30 minutes and transported the patient to Dell Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced shortly after 3 p.m.

3. Shortly after 7 p.m., EMS was called to 9345 E Hwy 290, the Rosemont at Hidden Creek Apartments. Bystanders pulled a 7 year old from the apartment pool and started CPR until fire and EMS arrived. Paramedics transported an unresponsive patient Code-3 to Dell Children’s Hospital.

4. At 9:30 p.m., medics responded to the Keystone Apartments pool at 5230 Thunder Creek Rd in northwest Austin, for a 22 year old female pulled from the water after “being submerged for 30-45 seconds”. A nurse on the scene performed CPR for two minutes. EMS arrived minutes later and transported an unresponsive patient to St David’s Round Rock Hospital.

Remember, drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing and yelling that movies and television prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life. The Instinctive Drowning Response is what people do to avoid suffocation in the water. Know what to watch for:

1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help.

3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface.

4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help.

5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued, drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

6. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

 

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Apr 25, 2013 - 01:38 pm CDT

Austin-Travis County EMS congratulates Medic JC Ferguson for winning the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) International Dispatcher of the Year Award!  The NAED International Dispatcher of the Year Award identifies and recognizes individuals who have made the most significant contributions to further the values and mission of the Academies through personal action.

The award is bestowed annually to the NAED certified emergency dispatcher who has most successfully demonstrated the values and mission of the Academies.  In his 2 years with the Austin-Travis County EMS Communications team, JC has exemplified the values and qualities of his profession and contributed to the team’s success in many ways.  JC maintains near perfect compliance every month and sets a shining example of the most desirable characteristics in an EMD. He always puts the patient and caller first, displaying exceptional customer service.  JC also takes the time to improve the patient care provided by our system by asking questions to the QA/QI team, researching policy and procedure, and always striving to help better our team of dispatchers. 

Even though JC is not currently in a training role with the department, he discusses protocols and situations with his co-workers, helping others prepare for the often scary and difficult 911 calls they encounter in their positions. His performance shows he can manage the worst calls imaginable, displaying an ability to work under the most stressful situations while maintaining compliance with the protocol and a superior level of professionalism.

JC is an exemplary employee who displays the values of the Academies in an outstanding way.  His performance and dedication distinguishes him above the rest and we are extremely proud to have him as part of the ATCEMS Communications team.  Congratulations JC Ferguson, International Dispatcher of the Year!

Tagged:
Apr 10, 2013 - 12:00 pm CDT

On April 3, 2013 MR17 paramedics James Arizpe and Walter Finch participated in a combined confined space training day at the Ulrich Water Treatment plant on Forrest View Drive.

Medic prepares to enter confined spaceThis was yet another venture created through the recent collaboration between the Special Operations training sections of AFD and ATCEMS. The ATCEMS Special Operations training staff was asked by AFD to assist them in the delivery of confined space educational material over a 3 day period. AFD conducts their training in this manner to ensure that each member across their three shifts gets an opportunity to experience the training.

While confined space operations is a discipline both departments are trained to mitigate the specific skills involved in such operations are perishable and need to be refreshed from time to time. These evolutions also gave the crews from each     department a chance to work and learn together in a relaxed environment, thus building trust and relationships that will aid them when they respond to “real life” emergencies together.          Tripod is utilized to anchor medics

Attendees in the class were shown several different options for rigging a vertical system for confined space access and the safety considerations associated with them. They were also refreshed on the use of the supplied air respirator (SAR) cart that rescue teams utilize to supply breathing air to rescuers and victims.

Medic is lowered into confined spaceThis training is invaluable in ensuring the response readiness of our rescue teams and is an excellent opportunity for us to work with our partner agencies.  ATCEMS will continue to collaborate on the development and delivery of instructional blocks for the respective special operations sections and work to create training opportunities for our providers.

ATCEMS Special Operations Paramedics are trained in a variety of rescue specialties including swift water, high angle, tactical, wilderness and confined space and respond to emergencies locally, regionally, and nationally as needed.  Special Operations supports Texas Task Force 1 with swiftwater boat teams, USAR resources, and deployment through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid and are dedicated to the delivery of specialized ALS care whenever and wherever it is required.

 

 

 

Mar 13, 2013 - 12:16 pm CDT

On March 7th Austin-Travis County EMS Special Operations helped coordinate another field training exercise in cooperation with the AFD Special Operations training section to assess the capabilities of rescue assets in the response to an industrial/technical type rescue call. Special Operations periodically conduct s these types of training drills as a quality control measure to evaluate and test the system as a whole from front to back.

ATCEMS Spec Ops training set up on side of high riseSpecial Operations Captain Craig Smith was an observer from the time of dispatch to arrival. “Today’s scenario involved a construction worker at a high rise construction site who had been crushed under a pile of heavy debris after a concrete form collapsed on him. This caused a neck injury and closed head trauma. The patient was unconscious throughout the incident.  Crews treated the patient in “real-time” and managed resources as they would on an actual incident.”

Captain Smith says the only person made aware of the drill before it happens is the communications supervisor, which is done in order to safeguard the daily operations of EMS and not cause a delay in response secondary to the training evolution. The 911 operator, call takers, and dispatchers are not told about the drill in advance and the call type is also not given to the call takers; they are simply given the information about the call in the manner it would be normally called in. This means that the call could have been a simple “unknown” type medical call with limited initial resources dispatched. If that were to occur the first arriving crews would have been forced to upgrade the call as necessary to facilitate access and treatment of the patient.  ATCEMS Spec Ops Medics care for man role playing construction worker who was trapped under debris

At this point the EMS crew dispatched to the call has no idea they are about to be sent to a drill. Once the units begin arriving on scene they start filling the ICS positions and conducting their assigned duties at this type of incident. The scenario has no contrived solution or outcome; this allows the drill to “play out” as it would in real life as if anyone called 911.

Captain Smith said “Today’s drill was a success and beneficial across the board for all agencies involved. Our EMS crews worked seamlessly with AFD response units in the location, treatment, and evacuation of a critically injured party. Each team member knew their role and executed their responsibilities with great efficiency.”  This type of exercise is also very reassuring to the on- site personnel who rely on the response providers in the event of an actual emergency.   

While station based, on-duty training is the norm the effectiveness of “no notice training” has been experienced and well received by EMS and Fire agencies nationwide. The intent is to provide a realistic environment for first responders to interface with other agencies and on-site personnel to achieve the best possible outcome for the victims.

Man role playing patient is brought down side of building by Spec Ops MedicsATCEMS Special Operations Paramedics are trained in a variety of rescue specialties including; swift water, high angle, hazardous materials/ WMD response, wilderness SAR, and confined space operations. The team responds to emergencies locally, regionally, and nationally as needed.  Special Operations supports Texas Task Force 1 with swift-water boat teams, USAR resources, and deployment through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System and are dedicated to the delivery of specialized ALS care whenever and wherever it is required.

“To every man, there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared and unqualified for the work that would be his finest hour." -Sir Winston Churchill

Feb 21, 2013 - 10:09 am CST

Austin-Travis County EMS Commander Andrew Hofmeister was awarded the Texas State VFW Emergency Medical Technician Gold Medal for his work with the ATCEMS Community Health Paramedic Program on Sunday.  Commander Hofmeister won the Gold Medal Award at all three levels:  local, regional and state.

This prestigious award is presented to an individual who actively gives emergency medical treatment, provides rescue service or civil disaster assistance as a member of any public or volunteer company organized to give emergency medical care, and/or provides rescue and civil disaster assistance to our nation's citizens. 

Nominees must meet and demonstrate the following criteria to be eligible to receive a Gold Medal Award:

•  Recognition by their colleagues or those they serve.

•  Consistent excellence in the performance of their duties.

•  Consistent dedication to their official responsibilities over a period of years and continuous growth in responsibilities and skills within their profession.

The Austin-Travis County EMS Community Health Paramedic Program provides care and service to the underprivileged members of our community and connects them to resources that benefit their wellbeing.

Commander Hofmeister pioneered this program from its inception to its current status of three permanently assigned personnel, as well as three response vehicles.  The initial funding for the Community Health Paramedic Program and the response vehicles was provided by the St. David’s Foundation Healthy People Grant.

Commander Hofmeister and his team coordinate the efforts of this program with several organizations, partnerships that he and his team have cultivated over time which never before existed.  While the program is still in its infancy, it is proving to be a valuable addition to the services the Department offers and has shown great promise in reducing 911 ambulance requests for fragile patient populations.

Additionally, the Community Health Paramedic Program has been well received by both medical and non-medical enterprise organizations.  This award is a reflection of the diligence and hard work Commander Hofmeister and his team have brought to this endeavor.

Congratulations to Commander Hofmeister for winning the VFW Gold Medal Award and for his dedication and service to our community!

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Feb 04, 2013 - 11:30 am CST

Austin-Travis County EMS and TAKE 10 CPR present the first annual Valentine’s Day “Save a SweetHEART” event at Barton Creek Square!  Learn Compression-Only CPR in 10 minutes!

Would you know what to do if a loved one suffered sudden cardiac arrest in your presence?  TAKE 10 CPR is a FREE 10 minute training session that teaches a simple, compression-only CPR technique using medical manikins.  We know that high quality, uninterrupted chest compressions initiated as soon as possible after someone has a sudden cardiac arrest makes a difference in survival. 

TAKE 10 is a community-focused effort to improve bystander CPR rates.  When bystanders do CPR, survival rates TRIPLE!  Join us on Valentine’s Day at Barton Creek Square mall and learn how to “Save a SweetHEART”, you CAN make a difference!

Additional  TAKE 10 CPR event locations are scheduled around Austin on Saturday, February 16th hosted by AFD and our TAKE 10 community partners!  Every training event is FREE and open to the general public!

Learn more about Take 10 CPR

“Save a SweetHEART” Valentine’s Day event at Barton Creek Square Mall

Time:  11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Elevator Court, Lower Level

(Nearest entrance is the by the AMC Theater)

 

Additional TAKE 10 CPR training locations:

Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013

Location: Grace Outreach Community Church

20808 Hwy 71 W

Spicewood, TX 78669

Time: 10:00 AM- noon - stop by anytime during this period to learn TAKE 10

Instructors:  Pedernales Fire/EMS Explorers

Cost: FREE

 

Date:  Saturday, February 16, 2013

Location: Shoreline Christian Center

15201 Burnet Rd., Austin, TX 78728

Time:   12 noon-2 pm

Instructors:  Motorcycle Special Events Team

Cost:  FREE

 

Date:  Saturday, February 16, 2013

Location: Northwest Recreation Center

2913 Northland Dr  Austin, TX 78757       

(512) 974-6972

Time:  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Sponsors/Instructors:  Allendale Neighborhood Association and AFD

Cost:  FREE

Tagged:
Aug 05, 2014 - 12:04 pm CDT

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Special Operations Rescue Paramedics, along with AFD, conducted boat operator training over a two week period in July at Decker Lake.

Training consisted of inflatable rubber boat (IRB) & trailer training and re-familiarization, motor training & re-familiarization, IRB maintenance & cleaning, & of course time out on the water, "tiller time".

ATCEMS operates 5 Zodiac 420s outfitted with 40hp Evinrude E-tec engines.

[flickr-photoset:id=72157646191272951,size=n]

 

What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Aug 04, 2014 - 05:02 pm CDT

July's Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services and Austin Fire Department Special Operations joint training was Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, & Explosive (CBRNE) sampling.  This training was a continuation of the May Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Training that included a brief classroom session was followed by three practical stations covering the decontamination trailer, utilization of monitoring tools, and donning and doffing protective gear and obtaining samples.

         

What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Jul 25, 2013 - 03:24 pm CDT

When EMS Captain Randy Trinkle was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision on the morning of December 1st 2012, it was a shock to everyone.   Two days prior Captain Trinkle and a team of Special Operations medics had competed in the annual Urban Shield Exercise with teams from AFD,  Dallas Fire, San Antonio, and as far away as New Orleans Fire Dept.   After the competition, the teams shared pizza and laughs together.  Someone suggested they take a group picture to remember the day, but sadly the picture was never taken.  

On the night of December 1st Captain Trinkle’s friends came together at Station 17 to grieve the loss of their dear friend and coworker.  Randy loved Station 17, it was his Special Operations home.  That night everyone realized the station did not have a flagpole to lower to half-mast.  Lowering a flag to half-mast when someone passes away is a symbol of honor and sacrifice.  It also shows support, grief, as well as unity.    

The idea to build a flagpole at Station 17 was born that night out of love and respect for Captain Trinkle.  “The process for submitting the request and gaining approval for the flagpole was complicated, and we didn’t know how we were going to raise the money for the project, we just knew we had to do it” said Spec Ops team member and Randy’s friend, Medic Dean Aarniokoski. 

Dean says “We started by sending an email to Randy’s Specs Ops family, and that was all it took.  Things started to move”.  A team assembled and Dean volunteered to lead the project.  Medics Mike Saia and Michael Kittok came up with a creative way to raise money for the project by making decks of playing cards with photos of all the Spec Ops teammates.  They offered the playing cards for sale to anybody who wanted to purchase them and donated the proceeds to the flagpole fund.   

“While Mike and Michael sold the playing cards I focused on getting the service quotes for the labor and materials” Dean says.  EMS Commander Scott Lindsey offered to help with the City’s approval process by submitting the appropriate paperwork and quotes.  “Although we had the moral support from some key members of the Department including our Special Operations Division Chief Mikel Kane, we didn’t know how long the process for approval would take” Dean stated, “A few months passed and we started to get discouraged.”  Then one day, Commander Lindsley announced that Chief Rodriguez had approved the flagpole and the City of Austin had signed off on the project.  They finally had the green light! 

The team agreed on a 20’ flagpole and contacted Texas Gas to come out and mark the spot for its placement in front of Station 17.“The next phase of the project truly touched me” Dean says, “We had a big portion of the money we needed thanks to Saia and Kittok, but in all honesty we were still a little short.”   Dean says he told himself “I’m not going to let Randy down so I’m just going to make up the difference.”  However, when Dean’s friends heard that he was planning on making up the difference with his own money, Medic Arista Blouin said, “No way, watch what happens!”   Arista sent an email to the team letting them know that they were still a little short of the goal, and anyone who wanted to chip in could still make a donation towards the flagpole project.

“It was like a Jerry Lewis telethon!” Dean says, “Emails and donations came pouring in from teammates in Rescue and Tactical”.  In a matter of days, the team had more than enough funds to pay for the flag, the pole and all of the supplies.  There was even a little left over to create a Spec Ops team flag.

Now they could begin the process of building the flagpole!  One more email was sent asking for help with the labor, and once again there was no shortage of volunteers.   Captain Mark Hawkins used his truck; he and Dean delivered the pole and supplies to Station 17. Commander Janelle Boone led the ground breaking by digging a 3’ foot hole through tough limestone.   Medics Michael Kittok, Walter Finch, Josh Todd, Craig Smith and Lee Nudelman took turns hammering on the limestone with a “rock bar” tool.  When the hole was finally finished and the concrete poured, the team used the technology of an IPHONE app to level the surface.

A few days later, Mike Kittok, Kevin Harner, Dean Aarniokoski and a few other volunteers poured the concrete base.  Mike Kittok and the Norton Tool rep cut and measured the base and Kevin Harner and Jason Akers used a “pie cutter” to smooth it.  Finally, the flagpole was raised and Station 17 had its tribute to Randy.  EMS Captains Ken Larsen, Craig Smith and a few others are creating a plaque for Captain Trinkle and they hope to dedicate the flagpole on December 1, 2013.

Captain Trinkle served this community for many years and was a positive influence to his coworkers and teammates.   He was a friend to all who knew him and his loss was hard on everyone in the department.  Dean tells us “Randy loved his career as we all do.  Our hope is when the years pass and we are all gone, the flagpole and plaque will serve as a symbol of how much Captain Trinkle meant to all of us.  The tragedy of his death is a moment in our lives we will never forget.”   He adds, “The flagpole is also a reminder of how a group of people came together and made this possible. It was an extraordinary effort by everyone involved and as a team we are proud of our accomplishment.” 

View the photo gallery for the Station 17 Flagpole Project

   

What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Jun 11, 2013 - 04:02 pm CDT

ATCEMS Commander Michael Broadwater spoke to press about water safety today at Deep Eddy Pool

Summer is officially here and school has been released until fall. Thoughts turn to vacations and summer activities including swimming and water sports. The Central Texas region enjoys an abundance of water in our lakes, rivers and many public pools. With that attraction, the inevitable risk of water-related injuries is always present. 

On Monday, Austin had five near-drowning incidents that included one fatality and two serious injuries:

1. Just after noon, EMS responded to the Dottie Jordan Park and Playground at 2803 Loyola Lane, for 7 and 10 year old victim. The younger victim clutched the older victim, they both went under and were immediately pulled from the water by a City of Austin Parks lifeguard.

2. At 2:08 p.m. paramedics were called to the Red Roof Inn at 8210 N I-35. Bystanders pulled a 7 year old from the water and started CPR until help arrived.  EMS continued CPR on the scene for more than 30 minutes and transported the patient to Dell Children’s Hospital where she was pronounced shortly after 3 p.m.

3. Shortly after 7 p.m., EMS was called to 9345 E Hwy 290, the Rosemont at Hidden Creek Apartments. Bystanders pulled a 7 year old from the apartment pool and started CPR until fire and EMS arrived. Paramedics transported an unresponsive patient Code-3 to Dell Children’s Hospital.

4. At 9:30 p.m., medics responded to the Keystone Apartments pool at 5230 Thunder Creek Rd in northwest Austin, for a 22 year old female pulled from the water after “being submerged for 30-45 seconds”. A nurse on the scene performed CPR for two minutes. EMS arrived minutes later and transported an unresponsive patient to St David’s Round Rock Hospital.

Remember, drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing and yelling that movies and television prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life. The Instinctive Drowning Response is what people do to avoid suffocation in the water. Know what to watch for:

1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help.

3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface.

4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help.

5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued, drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

6. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you all right?” If they can answer at all—they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

And parents—children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

 

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What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Apr 25, 2013 - 01:38 pm CDT

Austin-Travis County EMS congratulates Medic JC Ferguson for winning the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) International Dispatcher of the Year Award!  The NAED International Dispatcher of the Year Award identifies and recognizes individuals who have made the most significant contributions to further the values and mission of the Academies through personal action.

The award is bestowed annually to the NAED certified emergency dispatcher who has most successfully demonstrated the values and mission of the Academies.  In his 2 years with the Austin-Travis County EMS Communications team, JC has exemplified the values and qualities of his profession and contributed to the team’s success in many ways.  JC maintains near perfect compliance every month and sets a shining example of the most desirable characteristics in an EMD. He always puts the patient and caller first, displaying exceptional customer service.  JC also takes the time to improve the patient care provided by our system by asking questions to the QA/QI team, researching policy and procedure, and always striving to help better our team of dispatchers. 

Even though JC is not currently in a training role with the department, he discusses protocols and situations with his co-workers, helping others prepare for the often scary and difficult 911 calls they encounter in their positions. His performance shows he can manage the worst calls imaginable, displaying an ability to work under the most stressful situations while maintaining compliance with the protocol and a superior level of professionalism.

JC is an exemplary employee who displays the values of the Academies in an outstanding way.  His performance and dedication distinguishes him above the rest and we are extremely proud to have him as part of the ATCEMS Communications team.  Congratulations JC Ferguson, International Dispatcher of the Year!

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What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Apr 10, 2013 - 12:00 pm CDT

On April 3, 2013 MR17 paramedics James Arizpe and Walter Finch participated in a combined confined space training day at the Ulrich Water Treatment plant on Forrest View Drive.

Medic prepares to enter confined spaceThis was yet another venture created through the recent collaboration between the Special Operations training sections of AFD and ATCEMS. The ATCEMS Special Operations training staff was asked by AFD to assist them in the delivery of confined space educational material over a 3 day period. AFD conducts their training in this manner to ensure that each member across their three shifts gets an opportunity to experience the training.

While confined space operations is a discipline both departments are trained to mitigate the specific skills involved in such operations are perishable and need to be refreshed from time to time. These evolutions also gave the crews from each     department a chance to work and learn together in a relaxed environment, thus building trust and relationships that will aid them when they respond to “real life” emergencies together.          Tripod is utilized to anchor medics

Attendees in the class were shown several different options for rigging a vertical system for confined space access and the safety considerations associated with them. They were also refreshed on the use of the supplied air respirator (SAR) cart that rescue teams utilize to supply breathing air to rescuers and victims.

Medic is lowered into confined spaceThis training is invaluable in ensuring the response readiness of our rescue teams and is an excellent opportunity for us to work with our partner agencies.  ATCEMS will continue to collaborate on the development and delivery of instructional blocks for the respective special operations sections and work to create training opportunities for our providers.

ATCEMS Special Operations Paramedics are trained in a variety of rescue specialties including swift water, high angle, tactical, wilderness and confined space and respond to emergencies locally, regionally, and nationally as needed.  Special Operations supports Texas Task Force 1 with swiftwater boat teams, USAR resources, and deployment through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid and are dedicated to the delivery of specialized ALS care whenever and wherever it is required.

 

 

 

What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Mar 13, 2013 - 12:16 pm CDT

On March 7th Austin-Travis County EMS Special Operations helped coordinate another field training exercise in cooperation with the AFD Special Operations training section to assess the capabilities of rescue assets in the response to an industrial/technical type rescue call. Special Operations periodically conduct s these types of training drills as a quality control measure to evaluate and test the system as a whole from front to back.

ATCEMS Spec Ops training set up on side of high riseSpecial Operations Captain Craig Smith was an observer from the time of dispatch to arrival. “Today’s scenario involved a construction worker at a high rise construction site who had been crushed under a pile of heavy debris after a concrete form collapsed on him. This caused a neck injury and closed head trauma. The patient was unconscious throughout the incident.  Crews treated the patient in “real-time” and managed resources as they would on an actual incident.”

Captain Smith says the only person made aware of the drill before it happens is the communications supervisor, which is done in order to safeguard the daily operations of EMS and not cause a delay in response secondary to the training evolution. The 911 operator, call takers, and dispatchers are not told about the drill in advance and the call type is also not given to the call takers; they are simply given the information about the call in the manner it would be normally called in. This means that the call could have been a simple “unknown” type medical call with limited initial resources dispatched. If that were to occur the first arriving crews would have been forced to upgrade the call as necessary to facilitate access and treatment of the patient.  ATCEMS Spec Ops Medics care for man role playing construction worker who was trapped under debris

At this point the EMS crew dispatched to the call has no idea they are about to be sent to a drill. Once the units begin arriving on scene they start filling the ICS positions and conducting their assigned duties at this type of incident. The scenario has no contrived solution or outcome; this allows the drill to “play out” as it would in real life as if anyone called 911.

Captain Smith said “Today’s drill was a success and beneficial across the board for all agencies involved. Our EMS crews worked seamlessly with AFD response units in the location, treatment, and evacuation of a critically injured party. Each team member knew their role and executed their responsibilities with great efficiency.”  This type of exercise is also very reassuring to the on- site personnel who rely on the response providers in the event of an actual emergency.   

While station based, on-duty training is the norm the effectiveness of “no notice training” has been experienced and well received by EMS and Fire agencies nationwide. The intent is to provide a realistic environment for first responders to interface with other agencies and on-site personnel to achieve the best possible outcome for the victims.

Man role playing patient is brought down side of building by Spec Ops MedicsATCEMS Special Operations Paramedics are trained in a variety of rescue specialties including; swift water, high angle, hazardous materials/ WMD response, wilderness SAR, and confined space operations. The team responds to emergencies locally, regionally, and nationally as needed.  Special Operations supports Texas Task Force 1 with swift-water boat teams, USAR resources, and deployment through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System and are dedicated to the delivery of specialized ALS care whenever and wherever it is required.

“To every man, there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared and unqualified for the work that would be his finest hour." -Sir Winston Churchill

What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Feb 21, 2013 - 10:09 am CST

Austin-Travis County EMS Commander Andrew Hofmeister was awarded the Texas State VFW Emergency Medical Technician Gold Medal for his work with the ATCEMS Community Health Paramedic Program on Sunday.  Commander Hofmeister won the Gold Medal Award at all three levels:  local, regional and state.

This prestigious award is presented to an individual who actively gives emergency medical treatment, provides rescue service or civil disaster assistance as a member of any public or volunteer company organized to give emergency medical care, and/or provides rescue and civil disaster assistance to our nation's citizens. 

Nominees must meet and demonstrate the following criteria to be eligible to receive a Gold Medal Award:

•  Recognition by their colleagues or those they serve.

•  Consistent excellence in the performance of their duties.

•  Consistent dedication to their official responsibilities over a period of years and continuous growth in responsibilities and skills within their profession.

The Austin-Travis County EMS Community Health Paramedic Program provides care and service to the underprivileged members of our community and connects them to resources that benefit their wellbeing.

Commander Hofmeister pioneered this program from its inception to its current status of three permanently assigned personnel, as well as three response vehicles.  The initial funding for the Community Health Paramedic Program and the response vehicles was provided by the St. David’s Foundation Healthy People Grant.

Commander Hofmeister and his team coordinate the efforts of this program with several organizations, partnerships that he and his team have cultivated over time which never before existed.  While the program is still in its infancy, it is proving to be a valuable addition to the services the Department offers and has shown great promise in reducing 911 ambulance requests for fragile patient populations.

Additionally, the Community Health Paramedic Program has been well received by both medical and non-medical enterprise organizations.  This award is a reflection of the diligence and hard work Commander Hofmeister and his team have brought to this endeavor.

Congratulations to Commander Hofmeister for winning the VFW Gold Medal Award and for his dedication and service to our community!

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What’s Happening at ATCEMS
Feb 04, 2013 - 11:30 am CST

Austin-Travis County EMS and TAKE 10 CPR present the first annual Valentine’s Day “Save a SweetHEART” event at Barton Creek Square!  Learn Compression-Only CPR in 10 minutes!

Would you know what to do if a loved one suffered sudden cardiac arrest in your presence?  TAKE 10 CPR is a FREE 10 minute training session that teaches a simple, compression-only CPR technique using medical manikins.  We know that high quality, uninterrupted chest compressions initiated as soon as possible after someone has a sudden cardiac arrest makes a difference in survival. 

TAKE 10 is a community-focused effort to improve bystander CPR rates.  When bystanders do CPR, survival rates TRIPLE!  Join us on Valentine’s Day at Barton Creek Square mall and learn how to “Save a SweetHEART”, you CAN make a difference!

Additional  TAKE 10 CPR event locations are scheduled around Austin on Saturday, February 16th hosted by AFD and our TAKE 10 community partners!  Every training event is FREE and open to the general public!

Learn more about Take 10 CPR

“Save a SweetHEART” Valentine’s Day event at Barton Creek Square Mall

Time:  11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Elevator Court, Lower Level

(Nearest entrance is the by the AMC Theater)

 

Additional TAKE 10 CPR training locations:

Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013

Location: Grace Outreach Community Church

20808 Hwy 71 W

Spicewood, TX 78669

Time: 10:00 AM- noon - stop by anytime during this period to learn TAKE 10

Instructors:  Pedernales Fire/EMS Explorers

Cost: FREE

 

Date:  Saturday, February 16, 2013

Location: Shoreline Christian Center

15201 Burnet Rd., Austin, TX 78728

Time:   12 noon-2 pm

Instructors:  Motorcycle Special Events Team

Cost:  FREE

 

Date:  Saturday, February 16, 2013

Location: Northwest Recreation Center

2913 Northland Dr  Austin, TX 78757       

(512) 974-6972

Time:  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Sponsors/Instructors:  Allendale Neighborhood Association and AFD

Cost:  FREE

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What’s Happening at ATCEMS