MedicAlert Foundation and the Congressional Fire Services Institute recognized Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services for its recent innovations in emergency medical services, such as a community-wide effort to teach hands-only CPR.
Bill Webb, executive director of CFSI, and Andrew Wigglesworth, chief executive officer and president of MedicAlert Foundation, presented the Fire Service-Based EMS Award to County Executive Ken Ulman and Fire/EMS Chief William Goddard.
“Nothing is a higher priority than public safety. Our commitment to protecting our residents is strong and unwavering, and we have made progress by driving down response times and working to ensure that they receive the best possible treatment during medical emergencies,” said County Executive Ken Ulman in a statement. “As a result, we are saving lives. I am gratified that our efforts are being recognized, and we will continue to work hard to provide the best fire and rescue services in the nation.
Howard County was recognized for four distinguishing innovations that have improved cardiac care response times and have minimized cardiac emergencies among local residents and patients.
Among the most notable accomplishments is the department's development of a Community Hands-Only CPR program in partnerships with local organizations like the Howard County Public School System, says a news release. Through the partnership, the department recently purchased manikins for local schools and has provided “train-the-trainer” instruction for teachers to train all students.
This program has now been mandated in school curriculum for Howard County and serves as a graduation requirement for both sixth- and eighth-graders. During the event, students demonstrated the hands-only CPR program that is now being taught to every student is Howard County.
The county is also placing automated external defibrillators on school campuses. These innovations are a first in the state of Maryland and will serve as a model going forward, as the new state law takes effect that requires all 9th- and 12th-grade students in Maryland to learn CPR.