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New Jersey Convenes 2017 EMS Conference; More than 20 EMS Professionals Honored


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From hands-on demonstrations and simulation activities to exhibits showcasing the latest emergency medical technology, the 2017 New Jersey EMS Conference last week offered nearly 1,000 EMS professionals, physicians, nurses, educators and administrators a chance to better prepare for the next emergency.

The conference from Nov. 8-11 held at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City included more than 100 sessions presented by an array of subject matter experts and kicked off with a one-day symposium on large-scale incidents that included representatives from the Department’s Health Facility Survey and Field Operations Division and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Disaster and Terrorism unit; the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; the New Jersey EMS Task Force; the New Jersey State Police; and former New Jersey Health Commissioner Clifton Lacey. 

“To best prepare ourselves for large-scale incidents, coordination and integration of services is key,” said Brendan McCluskey, Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories and Emergency Preparedness (PHILEP). “Our commitment to preparedness ensures we work across agencies to accomplish our goals.”

The conference also featured an EMS Awards ceremony on Friday night that honored more than 20 EMS professionals for their service. A full gallery of photos is available here

“The EMS Awards honor the best and brightest in New Jersey’s EMS community whose exemplary dedication and commitment deserves our recognition,” said Acting Health Commissioner Christopher Rinn, who joined Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Department of Health staff in commending the honorees Friday night. “These leaders are on the front lines at the most critical time in people’s lives, and they handle this responsibility with professionalism and compassion.”

Hands-on demonstrations and simulation activities like the NJ Simulation Games gave teams of EMS professionals the chance to test their ability to triage and treat simulated patients, competing against other EMS agencies in both Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) categories. ALS winners included: Michael Blecker and Richard Zolli, Empress Ambulance (first place), Andrew Grandin and Megan Wieczenski, Capital Health EMS (second place), and Shelby Stofan and Krystal Creighton, JFK Hospital (third place). BLS winners included: Tricia Baczek and Amber Henderson, McCabe Ambulance (first place), Steve Ippolito and Rafael Porro, The Valley Hospital (second place), and Andrew Buchanan and Andrew Niech, JFK Hospital (third place). 

The 2017 NJ EMS Award recipients included:

  • Outstanding EMS Call                                   
    Tom Weber, of West Caldwell, and Rashe Edwards, of Newark
    Agency: University Hospital

  • Outstanding EMS Action by a Youth
    Rachel and Mya Maistrow, both of Cherry Hill, Lea Bachenheimer, of Roseland, and Dominique Bricker, of Turnersville

  • Outstanding EMS Action by a Citizen           
    Angelo Mel-tos, Kala Wright and Gavin Costello, all of North Plainfield

  • Outstanding First Responder                        
    Dagone Emerson, of Pittstown
    Agency: Quakertown Fire Company

  • Outstanding EMT                              
    Nicholas Barrett, of Old Bridge
    Agency: Old Bridge First Aid and Rescue

  • Outstanding Paramedic                    
    Andrew Ecker, of Haddon Heights
    Agency: Virtua Health

  • Outstanding ALS-SCTU Nurse                       
    Daryl Gruenhagen, of Bayonne
    Agency: McCabe Ambulance

  • Outstanding EMS Physician              
    Bill Wang Cheng Teng, of Jersey City
    Agency: Jersey City Medical Center

  • Outstanding EMS Administrator      
    Gerard Muench, of Elizabeth
    Agency: Trinitas Hospital

  • Outstanding EMS Educator               
    Bryan Fischberg, of New Brunswick
    Agency: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

  • Outstanding EMS Agency                 
    JFK EMS

  • EMS Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award
    William Voelkel (posthumously) 
    Agency: Jersey Shore Medical Center
  • EMS Career Lifetime Achievement Award   
    Fran Guthrie, of Lyndhurst
    Agency: New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority (NJSEA)

  • Outstanding Hospital ER Nurse                    
    Marcie Joy Koons (posthumously)
    Agency: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton

  • Outstanding Emergency Preparedness 
    John Grembowiec, of Newark
    Agency: University Hospital 

  • Outstanding EMS Safety Award
    Sarah Daplyn, of Summit
    Agency: Atlantic Ambulance

  • Outstanding EMS Dispatcher           
    Matthew Brandt, of Ringwood
    Agency: Ringwood Police Department

  • On behalf of Brick Police Department and the EMS Community for creation of the Heroin Addiction Response Program, which has provided a same-day link to inpatient drug rehabilitation for more than 100 people with addictions this year
    Chief James Riccio

  • On behalf of Morris County Office of Emergency Management and the EMS Community for training over 2,000 New Jersey law enforcement officers in Bleeding Control for the Injured Advanced Training Program, which has resulted in eight documented lives saved in the past three years.
    Director Scott DiGiralomo

“I applaud the courage and devotion of our EMS leaders and health care partners whose careers require them to respond to dangerous situations and put their own lives at risk,” Rinn said. “We are proud to call them New Jersey’s role models.”

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