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During National EMS Week, first responders praised in Nashua

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

May 25. 2018 5:57AM
Mark Hastings, director of emergency management for Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, speaks Thursday during the hospital's annual appreciation breakfast for first responders in the Gate City. Lynne Blankenbeker, a former active duty Air Force nurse who was previously stationed in Afghanistan and has now launched a Congressional campaign, delivers the keynote address Thursday at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center's annual breakfast for first responders. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)



NASHUA — Collaboration between fire, police and EMS is essential as first-responders tackle new and risky problems in the Gate City, according to medical officials.

“Being stronger together means that all of us must know when and how to help, and to teach others to do the same,” said Mark Hastings, director of emergency management for Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.

The local hospital praised dozens of first-responders during its annual recognition breakfast Thursday in the midst of the 44th annual National EMS Week.

“As I see it, the advancement of EMS has given rise to an integration of folks through numerous backgrounds,” said Hastings.

He said joint responses are especially critical as the city tackles opioid-related overdoses and crimes.

The public has also become a vital part in helping with different casualties throughout the nation — a change that must also be recognized, according to Hastings.

“We have seen the public jumping in to help,” he said, explaining hands-only CPR training and Stop the Bleed programs are providing citizens with the knowledge and confidence to assist in emergencies before first responders arrive at the scene.

Jointly, these efforts from the public, EMS, fire crews and police officers are changing the dynamics of how first-responders work, and increasing their success stories, said experts.

“Health care is always a team sport, but perhaps more so today,” agreed Tate Curti, chief operating officer at SNHMC.

“You guys have a tremendously difficult job, and it is getting even harder. We are in this together.”

Coordination and collaboration between various agencies and hospitals is essential, and so is the ongoing support, according to Curti.

Lynne Blankenbeker, a former active duty Air Force nurse who was previously stationed in Afghanistan and has now launched a Congressional campaign, stressed the importance of the “golden hour,” meaning the first hour during a casualty when the top priority is to stop bleeding, establish an airway and get the patient transported to a medical facility.

School shootings throughout the nation, including the most recent one in Santa Fe, Texas, are providing essential lessons for first-responders as they maneuver these mass casualty events that may not only involve wounded individuals, but other challenges such as active bombs stationed throughout crime scenes.

“You guys sacrifice every single day,” said Blankenbeker, echoing the need for tactical combat casualty care training for all first responders.

It is not out of the realm of possibility for Nashua to eventually experience some type of mass shooting, she said, adding the lessons learned now through various training sessions will be essential.

“Thank you for what you do,” echoed Hastings.

NashuaNews@unionleader.com


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