The annual Governor’s EMS Awards were presented at the annual EMS Symposium ceremony held in Norfolk, Virginia earlier in November.
The Governor’s EMS Awards were established as a formal recognition of outstanding contributions to EMS across the Commonwealth. In June, David Jones received the Western Virginia EMS Regional Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health & Safety and was then forwarded to compete at the state level. The State EMS Advisory Board’s EMS Awards Selection Committee reviewed the first place winners in each of Virginia’s 11 Regional EMS Councils’ competition. Winners selected at the state level were forwarded with the Committee’s recommendations to the Governor for final approval. The winners in the ten categories were announced at the annual EMS Symposium conference ceremony in Norfolk on Saturday, November 8.
Paramedic/Firefighter David H. Jones received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health & Safety for his efforts as the Department’s wellness and fitness coordinator since 2004. The Wellness & Fitness Program has been recognized at both the state and national level for firefighter wellness. However, the majority of calls the department responds to are EMS in nature, so David has implemented a number of initiatives that directly help improve common injuries that EMS professionals are prone to experience such as back strains and shoulder problems.
The Department's Wellness & Fitness Program would not be a success without the dedication that David has provided.
The initial goals of the Department in 2004 were to develop a fitness program modeled after the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Wellness Fitness Initiative. By far, the Department has met this goal and we are regularly called upon by other agencies to give advice on how to continue this type of program.
In 2007, the Department was awarded a Fire Act Grant that provided exercise equipment to all stations totaling approximately $200.000.00. The grant allowed fire and rescue personnel to have use of the most modern fitness machines available including treadmills. The Department was awarded the grant based on the great work that David has done with our Wellness & Fitness Program.
Annually, David oversees a fitness assessment for each staff member in conjunction with a thorough medical physical provided by a contracted licensed Occupational Physician. The Fitness assessment evaluates blood pressure, pulse, respirations, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, and strength—which David administers. If a concern is detected, David refers the employee to their personal physician or the Department's occupational physician for follow up. Each year, Jones reviews the employee’s physical goals and charts progress from year to year. Jones is also able to identify any concerning health trends within the Department as a whole and implement remedies.
In June, Paramedic/Firefighter Jonathon Wacek received the Western Virginia EMS Council’s Regional Award for Outstanding Prehospital Provider for exemplifying outstanding dedication and service to his community through his involvement with EMS. Although Jonathon did not receive the Governor’s Award last weekend, he represented the department honorably and was nearly impossible to beat.