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DPHHS honors Emergency Medical Services responders


May 21, 2015

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

               Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391


DPHHS honors Emergency Medical Services responders

EMS personnel from Cut Bank, Arlee, Columbus and Missoula receive awards

HELENA – Today, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) honored  Montana Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders from Cut Bank, Arlee, Columbus, and Missoula during an awards ceremony in Helena.

Representatives from Glacier County EMS, Arlee Ambulance Service, Columbus Fire/EMS and Providence St. Patrick Hospital of Missoula were honored by Montana Lt. Governor Angela McLean and Jim DeTienne, EMS and Trauma Systems supervisor for DPHHS.

This event was part of National Emergency Medical Services Week held May 18-24, 2015. This year’s theme is EMS Strong.

McLean said Montana’s EMS responders, both paid and volunteers, provide a critical service to this state. “Today, we honor and congratulate those who make sacrifices each and every day for their fellow Montanans,” she said. “These are people working in all corners of the state to help others in their time of crisis.”

DeTienne said, on average, Montana residents will need an ambulance service at least twice in his or her lifetime. “For some of these patients, delays in receiving emergency care could contribute to death or permanent injury,” he said. “As such, Emergency Medical Services is a critical component of health care in Montana.”

Fortunately, DeTienne said, Montana EMS has made great strides in the past 40 years. Today, over 3,300 EMTs and paramedics serve on a network of 265 EMS services spread across many Montana communities.  Hundreds more EMTs serve with law enforcement and fire agencies, in hospitals and many other locations where they work and live.

The following awards were presented to:

  • EMS Service of the Year Award, Glacier County EMS.

About Glacier County EMS: Glacier County EMS exemplifies what it means to be a community Emergency Medical Service. They respond to medical emergencies but also understand the importance of injury prevention and being an integral part of their community. They hold fundraisers to support injury prevention projects in Glacier County and have given away over 700 bicycle and skate helmets to area children to include the communities of Cut Bank, Babb and Browning. They conduct an annual Halloween “Be Safe Be Seen” campaign to give out glow sticks and hold a community carnival to keep children safe.  They provide CPR education to all Glacier County employees and offer CPR education throughout the community. They also work closely with the local emergency planning committee and their local hospital on disaster planning for Glacier County. The pride that Glacier County EMS has in their service is reflected in the patient centered care that they provide to the residents and visitors to Glacier County.

  • Volunteer EMS Provider of the Year Award. Drew Hendrickson, Arlee Ambulance Service.

About Drew Hendrickson: Drew is a true EMS leader in his community. He was the first EMT on the Arlee Volunteer Fire Department in 1979 and continues to respond to calls for help today 38 years later. Drew was instrumental in bringing ambulance transport capabilities to the Arlee Fire Department in 1995. He has responded to thousands of calls over the past 38 years. He is the liaison with local organizations such as the local school district, local businesses, CSKT Tribe, and many others. Drew is a mentor and the backbone of Emergency Medical Services in the Arlee community.

  • Career EMS Provider of the Year Award. Nick Jacobs, Columbus Fire/EMS.

About Nick Jacobs: Nick is a paramedic with Columbus Fire/EMS. He has taken the service from a Basic Life Support Service to providing Advanced Life Support (paramedic) coverage to not only the Columbus response area but also providing mutual aid to the rest of Stillwater County and parts of Yellowstone County. Nick has taken the initiative to become an instructor and has taught several EMT and Advanced EMT courses to bring the total number of medically trained personnel on the fire department to 29 out of 56 members.

  • Montana Trauma Systems Service Award, John Bleicher, Trauma Coordinator for Providence St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula.

About John Bleicher: Bleicher was involved with the launch and development of Montana’s Trauma System and has played an instrumental role into shaping it into one of the most successful, highly respected rural trauma systems in the nation. Bleicher, a registered nurse, has managed the trauma program as the Trauma Coordinator for Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula since 2000.  He also manages the Emergency Preparedness program for the hospital.  St. Pat’s is the only Level II Trauma Center in western Montana. He started his emergency medicine career 34 years ago in 1981 as a volunteer EMT with the ambulance service in Boulder, MT.

  • The DPHHS EMS for Children’s Program also gave special recognition to St. Vincent’s Health Care in Billings and Stillwater Billings Clinic in Columbus for their efforts helping Montana become a Pediatric Ready State.