TOP DEPARTMENT IN STATE

Jackson County officials are shown at the state capitol last week at a ceremony to accept the state EMS Service of the Year Award.

Jackson County Emergency Services is the top EMS department in the state of the Georgia.

Jackson County officials were at the state capitol last week to receive the state EMS Service of the Year Award, which county leaders say is a great honor considering how many private and governmental service agencies there are in the state.

“We are honored to receive this award," Jackson County EMS director Jason Baker stated. "I am equally honored to work side by side with some of the finest people in the state. We put our patients first here and every employee knows that's our number one priority. I would personally like to thank our county manager and the entire board of commissioners. Without their support, there is no way we could have accomplished this."

In 2019, the Jackson County Emergency Services department was very active. Among the accomplishments that led to the award were the following:

•In an attempt to save lives in a cardiac arrest situation, Jackson County taught CPR in schools, churches and around the community. The department issued over 300 CPR cards in 2019.

•The department developed a cardiac arrest committee that compiled data and researched ways to improve the success in cardiac arrests. The department developed new protocols and did extensive training on this. In 2019, the success rates soared, gaining the department national attention. EMS1 Magazine published an article citing the department’s success rate and outlined its progress protocols.

•The department hosted RESTART 2020 to share its new protocols with other services, with over 175 people from all over Northeast Georgia attending.

•Jackson County is taking part in a blood transfusion pilot program. The county is one of the few in the state to offer this. Every employee has trained on this and the long-term goal is to offer a better survival rate to traumatically-injured patients.

•With the opioid crisis in the country at an epidemic level, the department facilitated the purchase of Narcan for the fire and rescue services that had shown an interest. A representative was sent to the departments to assist with the training.

•With the amount of schools and large companies in the county, the department developed active shooter protocols. The department had 28 employees certified in Tactical Emergency Casualty Care. The department received a grant to purchase bullet-proof vests and helmets for the teams. The staff trained with local local enforcement personnel to be prepared in case the worst scenario should happen.

•After seeing the PTSD and suicide rates nationwide for first responders, the department implemented wellness workshops and offered free counseling to employees.

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