Ambulances & Vehicle Ops, Cardiac & Resuscitation, News, Training, Trauma

Blue Ridge (Va.) Volunteer Rescue Squad Debuts “Simulance”

Issue 10 and Volume 37.

‘Simulance’ on the road
A new and innovative “Simulance” recently went into service in western Virginia. The Blue Ridge Volunteer Rescue Squad (BRVRS) and Botetourt County EMS refurbished an ambulance and added a high-fidelity patient simulator.

The rescue squad submitted a request through the state Rescue Squad Assistance Fund (RSAF) for $100,455.72 at the 80/20 state/agency funding level. The primary goal of RSAF is to financially assist governmental, volunteer and nonprofit EMS agencies to purchase EMS equipment and vehicles and provide needed EMS programs and projects.

BRVRS was awarded a grant on Jan. 1, 2012, which covered the patient simulator, HD camera, video recording tether-less and ruggedized automaton needed to create this ground-up approach to EMS training.

“It’s like real medicine. There’s the 99% of patients that act a particular way, but then there’s the 1% that’s going to act a little different,” BRVRS member Colt Hagmaier said in a news report.We applaud BRVRS for enacting this effective and innovative approach to regional training—and making good use of a retired ambulance.

AED Access
Hennepin (Minn.) EMS has announced the addition of a new information system that will assist 9-1-1 dispatchers in helping callers locate lifesaving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available near sudden cardiac arrest victims.

“The problem is that until now, publicly available AEDs are rarely used in an emergency because people don’t know where they are, they can’t see them, and 9-1-1 dispatchers are unaware of the location,” said Chris Kummer, manager with Hennepin EMS, in a news report.

The new system from Atrus, Inc., known as AED Link, shows the location of registered AEDs on 9-1-1 agency consoles. “AED Link lets us instantly see the location of all registered AEDs near a sudden cardiac arrest victim so we can send someone to get it in time to help save a life,” Kummer said. Both Hennepin EMS and Atrus officials anticipate the system to be available by this month, which is fittingly, National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month.

In 2011, Hennepin EMS managed seven cardiac arrest cases in which a bystander used an AED. In six of those cases, the patient was resuscitated and walked out of the hospital neurologically intact. “While there are many factors to survival, bystander intervention with CPR and an AED is clearly a key link,” said Brian Mahoney, MD, Hennepin EMS medical director, in a news release.

We tip our hat to Hennepin EMS for working to improve the availability of AEDs and aiding in ongoing efforts to increase cardiac arrest survival rates.

Equine Therapy
Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is a specialized form of psychotherapy using horses as a therapeutic tool. This modality is designed to address self-esteem and personal confidence, communication and interpersonal effectiveness, trust, boundaries and limit-setting, and group cohesion. It has been effective in the recovery of our wounded warriors.

MONOC Mobile Health Services in New Jersey has announced a partnership with the Chariot Riders Equestrian Academy and Horses for Heroes program to support New Jersey veterans and active military personnel with disabilities. Chariot Riders Academy is a non-profit organization accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. In addition to the services they offer to the public, they also operate the Horses for Heroes program in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

The Horses for Heroes therapeutic riding program includes mounted and non-mounted equestrian activities in either group or private settings at no cost to participants. Activities are tailored to the individual’s needs and have been proven to improve the physical balance, gait and morale of both active military personnel and veterans with a wide range of both physical and psychological special needs.

We give MONOC Mobile Health Services a thumbs up for supporting such a great service for our veterans. For more information on the Horses for Heroes Program, visit

More Accountability
The National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) announced a position paper that encourages the establishment of a “just culture” environment within all EMS agencies.

The term “just culture” refers to a values-supportive system of shared responsibility in which healthcare organizations are accountable for responding to the behaviors of their staff in a fair and just manner. Staff, in turn, are accountable for the quality of their choices and for reporting both their errors and system vulnerabilities.

In the just culture program, employees’ behaviors are separated into three categories: 1. “human error”; 2. “at-risk behavior”; and 3. “reckless behavior.” This helps create a formula for consistency for the evaluation of human behaviors, and instills a sense of confidence in the individuals involved.

Because mistakes don’t always result in an adverse event, acknowledgement of a mistake allows agencies to take action before an event occurs.
We give a thumbs up to the NAEMT for helping foster an environment of accountability and consistency across all EMS agencies.