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North County Fire recognizes outstanding efforts

FALLBROOK – At the December 8 meeting of the board of directors of North County Fire Protection District, several staff members were recognized for their outstanding efforts.

“This is the District’s way of acknowledging special effort put forth by its employees,” said John Buchanan, public information officer for North County Fire.

Those receiving special acknowledgement included Captain Randy Meers, Division Chief/Fire Marshal Sid Morel, Brent Itzaina, James Beebe, James Doumak, Jason Harbert, Jason Bracci, Kathy Ford, Gary Lane, Tom Harrington, Mark Hammes, Nick Quinn, B Crew, North County Explorers, Captain Gary Nelson, Engineer Gerald Montante, John Choi and Cameron Stinson.

Meers was recognized for his success in talking a man down from a suicide attempt atop an area bridge. “It was a situation of crisis intervention and negotiation,” said Buchanan. “The young man was suicidal and it took Meers quite a length of time to talk him out of it, but he was successful.”

Morel was acknowledged for the support he provided to a former fire explorer and his family. “The explorer’s grandfather was dying in a San Diego hospital and while down there the former explorer’s mother began having chest pains.” Buchanan said Morel called an ambulance to transport the woman to Tri City Hospital for diagnostic work. When Tri City approved her for release, he transported her back to where her father was hospitalized at Scripp’s La Jolla. “He got her back to her father’s bedside before her dad passed away.”

Itzaina, Quinn and B Crew received kudos for the work they put in on two new ambulances the District recently took delivery of.

“They set both of the ambulances up for service,” said Buchanan. “They have to have special compartments built inside for the equipment and supplies we have and they all did a great job.”

Beebe was honored for the strides he has made in educating the public about disaster preparedness and his work with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. “Beebe was honored by the San Diego County Fire Prevention Officers organization as ‘Educator of the Year,’” said Buchanan.

Nelson, Montante, Choi, and Stinson were the emergency responders first on the scene concerning a young potential drowning victim. The firefighters/paramedics were traveling down South Mission Road, near the girl’s home, when the emergency call came in. “As the 911 operator was walking someone at the scene through CPR on the girl, the paramedics arrived and worked diligently on her to achieve a good result,” explained Buchanan. “She was taken by helicopter to Rady Children’s Hospital and she’s now back in her first grade class in Fallbrook and doing very well.”

Harrington and Hammes were lauded for their work on constructing ventilation props for firefighting exercises. “These types of props are an excellent tool for training when it comes to the work we do atop a roof.”

Lane was recognized following a letter received from Cal Fire, regarding his leadership role in the development of Fire Officer and Chief Officer certification tracks.

While at Palomar Hospital on another matter, Harbert and Bracci assisted in the extrication of another trauma patient. Harbert and Bracci were recognized by the hospital for ensuring that the patient was brought into the emergency room safely.

“This patient arrived at the hospital in a private vehicle; Harbert and Bracci stepped up to help, even though the individual wasn’t their patient,” said Buchanan.

Doumak, described as an adept videographer, was praised for the development of the Palm Tree Rescue video and for his leadership role in the Fieldsaver program. With the high risk involved in trimming fronds from tall Mexican Fan palms, local emergency workers recognized the need for training in these specialty rescues.

“Doumak make a really great video about how to attempt these rescues for best success,” said Buchanan. “He also served as a leader in North County Fire to help everyone learn the Fieldsaver program.”

Buchanan described the Fieldsaver program as a palm pilot-type device that paramedics enter patient data into to provide to the hospital an individual is being transported to.

Ford, who works in administrative services, was recognized for her proactive work in improving customer support for HIPAA compliance on behalf of the fire agency. “She has helped make sure we are handling everything in the appropriate way when it comes to patient privacy,” said Buchanan.


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