Report from Fire-Rescue Med 2014

The International Association of Fire Chief’s EMS Section Fire-Rescue Med (FRM) Conference moved to Arlington, Virginia, this year after many years in Las Vegas. Preconferences on Wednesday, April 30, and Thursday, May 1, included a two-day workshop on “Building a Competitive High Performing Fire-Based EMS System,” presented by Los Angeles County Fire Deptartment Deputy Chief Mike Metro; one-day workshops on “Infectious Disease, Advanced Designated Officer Training, and How to Structure a Compliant Infection Control Program,” presented by Kathy West and James Cross of Infection Control/Emerging Concepts; “Game Changer: Importance of Patient Care Documentation in Fire-Based EMS Systems,” presented by David Bradley of VFIS; and “The Fire Service Role in the New Mobile Healthcare Environment,” presented by Matt Zavadsky of Medstar Mobile Health and Deputy Chief Gary Ludwig of Memphis Fire.

The main conference opened on Friday, May 2, with the presentation of the James O. Page EMS Achievement Award to Chief John Sinclair of Kittitas Valley (Wash.) Fire and Rescue. Superintendent in Chief Brendan Kearney of Boston EMS then delivered a fascinating presentation on the Boston marathon bombing. Kearney described Boston’s incident command system approach to the marathon as a “planned disaster,” and reviewed lessons learned in managing the incident. The many people “bleeding to death in an unsafe scene” necessitated rapid evacuation and emphasized the need for public education on bleeding control. Another key lesson learned was that Boston’s EMS bike patrols didn’t carry triage tags at the time of the bombing–an observation that has since been remedied.

Arlington County, Virginia, Fire Department Medical Director E. Reed Smith followed with a presentation on “Changing the Paradigm: Rescue Task Force Response to Active Shooter Events.” Smith reviewed active shooter trends including data showing an increase in events and suggestions that shooters appear to be learning from each other. He summarized research showing the median active shooter event involves two deaths and two wounded with event duration of less than 10 minutes. In 99% of incidents, the active shooter acts alone. Smith described the rescue task force implemented in Arlington and training materials available at A panel discussion of fire, EMS and law enforcement experts followed the presentation.

Afternoon breakout sessions were each repeated once to allow attendees opportunity to attend two of the presentations. Sessions included “The View from the Stretcher,” presented by James Logan from the Memphis Fire Department, describing his own serious cardiac event; Rick Patrick from Department of Homeland Security; Ed Gabriel from Health and Human Services, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines and Drew Dawson from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration providing a synopsis of the latest federal EMS news from Washington, DC; Kathy West presenting “Is Your Occupational Medicine Practice Doing What it Should?”; Chief Michael McAdams of Montgomery County, Maryland, speaking on “EMS Special Operations in the National Capital Region”; and retired fire chief Jeff Lindsey presenting “New Products in EMS.”

Saturday, May 3, opened with the IAFC EMS Section presentation of the Annual Heart Safe Community Awards sponsored by Physio-Control. The small community award winner for 2014 was presented to Highland Village (Texas) Fire Department and the large community award winner was Stafford County (Va.) Fire & Rescue Department. Details on the award and winners will be posted soon on

FRM 2014 closed with a general session presented by Sinclair on, “The Affordable Care Act and the Impact to the Fire Service.” This was followed by a presentation by Zavadsky entitled, “Why Fire Service Leaders Should Care About the Changing Healthcare Environment,” and a presentation by Chief Jeff Clark of Chandler City (Ariz.) Fire Department on, “The Affordable Care Act and the Phoenix Initiative.”

For more information on the IAFC EMS Section’s Fire-Rescue Med, visit

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