Fire-Rescue MED Workshop to Address Fire Service EMS Issues

A thought-provoking preconference workshop on how the fire service must cope with the changing EMS environment will be held from 8 AM to 5 PM, Sunday, May 5th at the Fire —Rescue MED Conference in Las Vegas. The highly focused workshop will not only discuss current issues being faced by EMS agencies but offer proven solutions to address those issues.

Criss Brainard, is EMS Deputy Chief for San Diego Fire Rescue, Matt Zavadsky, MA is the Director of Public Affairs at MedStar Mobile Healthcare and A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, Editor-in-Chief of JEMS will discuss system issues and arm attendees with solutions, resources and contacts to help them ride the rough seas of changes occurring in EMS and the U.S healthcare system.

Areas that will be discussed include:
“¢ How to make a public/private partnership work efficiently, effectively, financially and in a seemless manner on scene;
“¢ Coping with the changing culture and attitudes in the EMS workforce;
“¢ What obstacles the fire service has to overcome to implement mission changes or new service models;
“¢ Breaking down the “us” and “them” mentality and confrontations in fire, EMS and law enforcement interfaces;
“¢ Labor issues and 9-1-1 center issues;
“¢ Funding and contracting;
“¢ Collaborations and partnerships; 
“¢ Implementing Community Practice Paramedics and other social service aspects your EMS system;
“¢ Retraining personnel to adapt to, and excel at, basic and advanced skills, new treatment procedures and changing EMS standards; and
“¢ Reducing non-emergent calls and uses of resources by frequent system activators and methods to redirect them into the healthcare system.

To register for this important preconference session or the main Fire-Rescue MED Conference, go to


Criss Brainard, is EMS Deputy Chief for San Diego Fire Rescue. Chief Brainard has been with the fire department for 31 years and has been a paramedic for 34-years. Brainard has also served as a Shift Commander in Fire Operations Division managing major incidents and personnel. He has been closely involved in the public/private partnership system between San Diego Fire Rescue and Rural Metro Corporation. Chief Brainard has extensive experience in emergency operations, is an instructor at EMSTA Paramedic College in Santee CA, is a member of the Editorial Board for JEMS and has published numerous articles in fire and EMS journals.

A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, is Editor-in-Chief of JEMS and Business Development Coordinator for PennWell Public Safety Publications. A.J. is also affiliated with other PennWell products including: Fire-Rescue Magazine, Fire Engineering Maga¬zine, Law Officer Magazine, APCO’s – Public Safety Communications Magazine, the EMS Insider newsletter and Web Network and all PennWell Public Safety Websites and conferences including the EMS TODAY Conference & Exposition and the FDIC (Fire Department Instructor’s Conference). Prior to joining the staff of JEMS  A.J. served as Director of Operations for Cetronia Am¬balance, a high-performance service in Allentown, PA from and, for seventeen years, was the Executive Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Emergency Medical Services region and the regional MEDCOM Advanced Medical Communications System (1975-1992). He also served as a paramedic and command officer for Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Department for twenty years. While at Bethlehem Township, A.J. helped develop and supervise the “Medic 1″ Paramedic Response System, which provided ALS service 11 urban, suburban and rural municipalities. A.J. is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia and holds a Mas¬ter’s Degree in Public Administration from Lehigh University. A certified EMS, Mass Casualty and Rescue instructor, A.J. has served on the faculty of university EMS degree programs; community college emergency service training divisions and fire academies.

Matt Zavadsky, MA is the Director of Public Affairs at MedStar Mobile Healthcare, the exclusive emergency and non-emer¬gency EMS provider for Fort Worth and 14 surrounding cities in North Texas. He holds a Master’s Degree in Health Service Administration and has 32 years’ experience in EMS including volunteer, fire department, public and private sector EMS agen¬cies. He is a former paramedic and has managed private sector ambulance services from 10,000 to more than 110,000 annual call volume in locations including Fairfield, Connecticut; Augusta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida and La Crosse, Wisconsin. He has also served as a regulator in Lincoln, Nebraska and Volusia County (Daytona Beach), Florida. Matt specializes in high performance EMS system operations, public/media relations, public policy, employee recruitment and retention, data analysis, costing strategies and EMS research. He has served the American Ambulance Association as Chair of the Industry Image Com¬mittee and membership on the Professional Standards, Strategic Development and Management Training Institute Committees. He is an Adjunct Faculty member for the University of Central Florida’s College of Health and Public Affairs teaching courses in Healthcare Economics and Policy, Healthcare Finance, Ethics, Managed Care and US Healthcare Systems.


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