EMS Contacts for the Interior

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EMS Contacts for the Interior

#1 Post by john » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:26 pm

At the last membership meeting we discussed the issue with the racer who got hurt on the Iron Dog and the lack of a local EMS for help.

Mainly this was due to the location, outside the FNSB so that the borough services couldn't help.

I contacted the state and received the following in reply to my question on what EMS services are available for the Interior and other areas such as Cantwell.
Hi John,

Attached is the list of certified ground and air ambulance services in the Interior EMS Region. The Interior Region EMS Council can also let you know which areas you are interested in have non-certified First Responder services. Their phone number is 456-6449. I'm including Executive Director Dan Johnson in the email to let him know of your inquiry. Finally, I'm attaching a copy of the 2007 edition of Help Along the Way, a publication we had funding to publish for a number of years. It's no longer fully current but may give you an idea of additional resources in the Interior.

Shelley
Here are two documents she provided for our use. The first one has a list of EMS throughout the state, just remember it is outdated.
Help_Along_the_Way_2007.pdf
Interior_EMS.pdf



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Summit800
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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#2 Post by Summit800 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:38 pm

No, the problem is the Troopers were not willing to ask for assistance. They didnt even ask if it was outside the borough. And Im not sure it was.

Dont make excuses for these guys, this emergency was handled very poorly to say the least. My advise, If you need emergency assistance, tell them your being shot at, or there is a drunk riding near you. that is the only way you will get a response. Simply laying on the frozen river with possibly a broken hip wont do it.

Luckily everything turned out OK, NO THANKS TO THE AST AND 911 SYSTEM



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#3 Post by mit » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:16 pm

Alaska State Troopers, charged with coordinating 49th state SAR operations

There is something wrong with the guy that wouldn't go out on the rescue!

The first line is from this
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/2 ... ter-rescue

and is also the way I have heard it from my time with the CAP.


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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#4 Post by REVITUP » Wed May 01, 2013 6:20 am

Just to clarify their (AST) reasons: The AST does NOT have a pilot standing by for rescue in the Fairbanks area, the plane had to be readied to fly (?), AST does not have a medic on standby (what ever happened to police, troopers, etc. being EMS/First Responder trained?), AST "D" detachment, i.e. Fairbanks, no longer has a helicopter, the wildlife troopers with snowmachines are not always in the area so not always available, budget cuts and last but not least: they are not in the rescue business!
And silly me, I thought it used to say something about protecting and serving in the motto of law enforcement. I may have gotten that last idea from my father, he served 23 years as a deputy sheriff.
I guess I should have suggested the possible victim was drunk!

P.S. The lists John were given are about 6 years old. A lot has changed in 6 years.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#5 Post by john » Wed May 01, 2013 6:47 am

I'm not trying to justify anyone for the actions taken but I think it would be in all of our best interest to know who we can or should contact in case of an emergency and not have the same kind of issue as we did last Feb.

Maybe if we can get some communications going on between us and DHSS, we can find a solution or at least get AST to respond better when the need does arise.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#6 Post by Summit800 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:25 am

Its hard to comprehend that you can be in the middle of the Brooks range and push a button on a red box and get assistance, but a phone call to 911 EMERGENCY yeilds nothing but greif

The system is broken,



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#7 Post by REVITUP » Wed May 01, 2013 3:12 pm

From the Alaska State Trooper website:
The Alaska State Troopers' eight core missions in meeting these responsibilities as stated in the 2008-2017 Strategic Compass are:

Maintain public peace and order.
Enforce criminal laws and investigate violations of those laws.
Enforce traffic laws and regulations and investigate violations of those laws and regulations.
Conduct and manage search and rescue operations.
Support and assist other law enforcement and governmental agencies.
Investigate allegations of human abuse or neglect.
Respond to the concerns and inquiries of citizens.
Provide current and relevant training to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#8 Post by TheBearAk » Wed May 01, 2013 11:18 pm

I must of missed the story, but if this actually happened during the Iron Dog, I would place the blame more on the race organization.

They have to know that with any race, specially where snowmachiners are going as fast as they do over rugged terrain, there really needs to be search and rescue ready to go, and coordination should be handled by the race officials to begin with.

Look at the presence there has been at Arctic Man every year. Before the Troopers rolled in in huge numbers (I believe there were 23 troopers down there this year!!), the army had the search and rescue helicopters down there. I'm not sure who paid for it, but I would guess it was tax payers and simply good hands on training for those guys.


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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#9 Post by REVITUP » Thu May 02, 2013 6:27 am

I'm not disagreeing the point that Iron Dog race organizers could have/should have contacted someone in regards to what EMS services are available in case they are needed. Anyone can need help at any time and we don't always need it when and where it's convenient. The point here is that if someone had been injured, for example, on our Sweetheart ride to Nenana, most of us had assumed that EMS was a phone call away and we would have been wrong. Same goes for any time we ride "outside" of the borough. I spoke with the guys from North Star about this and was told that they can go outside the borough to help IF they get the okay from the powers that be. That is not a very comforting thought when you have someone injured or sick enough to need EMS. Are those in control going to feel you need them enough and the budget will allow, to send help? Our 911 system is inefficient to say the least but now we add in that someone, somewhere (who? where?) is deciding whether or not to allow trained responders to come to your aid when time may be what saves your life. We lost a lot when MAST was taken out of here.
I was not attacking the Troopers as they are not controlling their budget but the way the entire emergency call was handled. If they couldn't or wouldn't send help, they should have told me right away so I had the opportunity to get help somewhere else. I am very thankful to the young man who was at HQ with us, that called Walker Evans to send their plane. It is time for us to ask questions of the "powers that be", they are working for us, aren't they?
For the record, I don't believe that the troopers started out going to Arctic Man to help with emergencies as much as they went due to a presence of alcohol and drugs, stolen snowmachines, etc.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#10 Post by john » Thu May 02, 2013 6:45 am

Thanks Revit, that fits into the follow up communications I received from DHSS. Quoted below.

TheBear, this isn't so much of a specific event issue I'm concerned with, the incident just brought up the fact that local sledders on either a club or personal run may have an emergency sometime. So my concern is more in sorting out who any of us should contact if we were to be in a similar position. At the last meeting the issue was mentioned and it caused some general concerns to arise as to what would we do if we had an accident on say the Sweetheart run and half way to Nenana for example.

So I contact DHSS about EMS services in general in the Interior, as you'll read below they pretty much follow the AST mission statement Revit noted. So I'm going to do some follow up calls to AST and try to get more info. If the system is broken and AST can't/won't deal with these type of emergencies, then it would be good for us to know what we should do. I believe we need to be proactive in this for everyones concerns. We all spend lots of time riding and it would just be nice to know the process and who can help no matter where we are. I have had to call MAST in the past for folks when we were riding down out of Cantwell some years back and MAST was great, it was the only way to the injured guy out, it would be good info for all us to know who to call now that MAST has been gone these past years. So if AST did drop the ball as it appears, maybe some lines of communications with them is what is needed so it doesn't happen again. So far we've been lucky and haven't had any need, but its better to be prepared than not.
This is a very interesting situation. Of course, I don't have many details, but what you've related runs counter to my understanding of the Trooper's role in the Interior. First, I will say that the Excel spreadsheet that Shelley sent you is current as far as certified EMS services in the Interior. There are some additional, informal "first responder" services as well.

As far as what I can do to help - I've pretty much related what I know about remote EMS response in the Interior. It has always been my understanding that AST has responsibility for "Search and Rescue" in the state. SAR is not the same as EMS (which is the focus of our agency, not SAR) and I know that AST does not do "EMS" in the sense that they don't have medical personnel nor methods of providing EMS or transporting EMS patients.

What I understand, and has been true in all cases I've heard of, is that if there's a remote incident, AST is the agency that will call on the resources that are needed - whether that be organizing a SAR or coordinating with local civilian EMS services and/or the Rescue Coordination Center (and through the RCC, the Air Guard response). Civilian EMS has a very limited role in off-road incidents - some do, some don't depending on what equipment they have and what their personnel are qualified to do.

Of course, you can see this gets confusing, which is why the AST has a role (at least my understanding over the years of their role) in identifying and coordinating resources for off-road incidents.

When the MAST program was in service, I served as the "Civilian MAST Coordinator" for the Army. I was therefore in a position of trouble shooting these sort of things. We had a committee which included MAST and all the civilian agencies that interacted with it, including AST. At that time, MAST would only respond if civilian EMS could not handle the incident. Therefore, all MAST responses had to be done through a "Trusted Agent" designated by the Army, and AST was the primary and fool-proof method that any civilian could tap into MAST when needed. The system worked very well. An occasional hiccup, but really pretty efficient and fool-proof.

When MAST went away, we were informed that a similar remote rescue and EMS service would be provided by the Air Guard if civilian EMS could not handle it. This service would be dispatched through the Rescue Coordination Center, and AST be able to call on these resources when needed. We were told that all a civilian would need to know is to call AST. We therefore had the understanding that, to the civilian, it would be very similar to MAST: the civilian would simply contact the troopers and the troopers would initiate the response. If civilian EMS could not handle the incident, a helicopter from the Air Guard with qualified personnel would respond if needed and available.

Unfortunately, our agency (Interior Region EMS Council) has no role in this system since MAST ended, other than to let civilians know that AST is the entity that they need to contact. We tried to make contact with Air Guard officials way back then, but found no interest in the organization of a similar coordinating committee for remote EMS.

Regardless of who provides actual EMS services in any incident, again, my understanding for many, many years, is that AST has always had responsibility for Search and Rescue - this is seldom a role of local EMS agencies. EMS agencies role is almost always limited to patient care and transportation.

I don't know what to advise you other than the above. Again, the spreadsheet of EMS agencies that Shelley provided is current even thought the brochure might not be. I can only suggest that if you have an organized event, to do some pre-contact and pre-planning with both the civilian agencies in the area affected and also contact the troopers and make sure you understand their role in an off road emergency. Until you informed me of this incident, my experience has always been that they are the primary resources to initiate and coordinate remote rescue.

Dan Johnson.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#11 Post by mit » Thu May 02, 2013 5:49 pm

Who is Dan Johnson?


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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#12 Post by billy6384 » Thu May 02, 2013 10:37 pm

I think he was on that tv show "Miami Vice" Oh wait that's Don Johnson! :3stoges:


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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#13 Post by john » Fri May 03, 2013 6:13 am

He's the Executive Director of the Interior Region EMS Council. He is who the folks at DHSS pointed me to for EMS info when I contacted the state to try and get clarification on all this.

Shelly, who I quoted in my first post and that he mentions works for Alaska DHSS.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#14 Post by john » Sun May 05, 2013 9:20 am

I followed up on this with AST and received the below response from an officer I've had excellent interaction with in the past.
Good Morning John,

I reviewed the comments and concerns posted on Snow Travelers web site and I'm sorry that this incident occurred. I'm not in a position to pass judgment on what happened. During my 27 years with the troopers, I have never heard of a failure to respond on our part, with the exception of bad weather, darkness or other things that just would not let us safely respond.

I can assure you that if anyone calls for a SAR or a need of a medical response, we will do everything we can to respond. If we don't have the ability to respond, we are the lead group that coordinates with other agencies such as CAP and RCC. Your group can continue to rely on the fact that no matter where they are if an emergency arises we will get them help.

The Department of Public Safety receives hundreds of calls for assistance every year throughout the state. Often the men and women of the department put their lives on the line when they are called to help in remote locations. As you know, over the years we have lost several members of our agency while they were responding to calls for rescue or assistance.

Here is an example of one recent incident;

Synopsis: On 5/4/13 at approximately 1047 hours AST received a report of an overdue snow machine between Old Minto Recovery Camp and Fairbanks. ...................(40 yoa of Fairbanks) reportedly left Old Minto at approximately 1300 hours on 5/3/13 for a three hour trip to Fairbanks. He was due to arrive at 1600 hours but failed to show. ............... is driving a Skidoo snow machine and he has adequate gear to remain overnight outdoors. ................ is also an experienced outdoorsman who is familiar with the area. AST contacted RCC and requested CAP to fly the trail. CAP already has air assets in the area on a training mission and they will divert to conduct the search.

Update :
At approximately 1546 hours CAP aircraft located a snow machine and man matching .............. description on the trail between Old Minto and Murphy Dome. The man was not in distress and there was no sign that he needed assistance. CAP returned to Fairbanks. A hasty team on snow machines is currently on the trail to confirm that the person is .......... and check his status.

Update:
On 5/4/13 at approximately 2200 hours ........ arrived safely at the Murphy Dome trail head. His snow machine broke down and he walked to a cabin in the area. Searchers on snow machines located .......... and transported him to Murphy Dome. Incident is closed. All assets have returned safely.

I hope this assures you that we are here and will respond to the best of our abilities.
Thank you and have a good day!
Lantz Dahlke
Since we don't know the specific officer involved in the incident that started this, can't really follow up on it.

However, I would suggest to any and all that if a similar incident occurs and you don't get a proper reply ask for the supervisor on duty.

I know this doesn't solve the problem that happened but maybe it'll help to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.



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Re: EMS Contacts for the Interior

#15 Post by REVITUP » Sun May 05, 2013 9:57 am

Contrary to what was said about who the supervisor on duty was, it wouldn't be too hard to find out since we have a date and time that the racers were crossing the finish line, who was on duty that day? My question, because I don't know who he is, does Lantz Dahlke have any pull to help get this resolved?



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