During the regular meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, it was announced that the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) voted last Friday, March 15, 2019, to award “Initial Accreditation” to the Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic Training Program at Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is the largest programmatic accreditor of the health sciences professions. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2100 individual education programs in 30 health science occupations. CAAHEP accredited programs are assessed on an ongoing basis to assure that they meet the Standards and Guidelines of each profession.
“This is a process that has taken over three years to obtain,” says Fire Chief Tim Prather. In August 2015, Instructor Randy Pierson was hired as a Paramedic Program Director to initiate an “in house” Paramedic Training Program. This was a decision to not only maintain a good pool of paramedics to overcome attrition, but to gain more paramedics for the department. “It is a long range goal to eventually have our engine companies provide Advance Life Support (ALS). Currently, we have a good number of paramedics to provide relief for ambulances. We are very busy service and we strive to ensure that no one paramedic with ride an ambulance consecutive shifts and reach “burn out”. We will need a greater number of paramedics to commit to Engine ALS delivery on all apparatus. But, with our numbers increasing, there are days that some of our engines are ALS capable. So, we are getting closer each year,” added Prather.
Randy Pierson, the EMS Program Director, said that the process is detailed but puts in place a system where the fire department can continue to meet national standards and at the same time look for opportunities to improve the program. “We’ve been extremely fortunate to have the support from our department’s leadership and the Board of Commissioners. The training staff, adjuncts and field preceptors have all bought into the program and what it means for growth and staffing as well as the quality of care we can offer,” added Pierson.
“The value of national accreditation of our paramedic training program will be realized by the citizens of Cherokee County, including me, for decades to come. Compassion and medical skills are what these medics deliver,” stated Dr. Jill Mabley, the agency’s Medical Director.
Pierson gave praise to Dr. Jill Mabley and EMS Chief Danny West who have been huge supporters of the program as well. According to Pierson, “Both of these individuals have been actively involved in the program and provided valuable input and resources. It can’t be overemphasized, what a huge effort by so many individuals on so many different levels this process took.”
Congratulations to the EMS Leadership of Medical Director, Dr. Jill Mabley, Paramedic Program Director Randy Pierson and EMS Chief Danny West as well as all the Paramedic Instructors, Training Chief Scott Deal, Battalion Chief Shannon Gibbs, Capt. Scott Gwinn, Sgt. Dwayne Barbee and Clinical Coordinator, Kristi Wigington. Also, many thanks to all the adjuncts Capt. Clay Cloud, Capt. Sarah Love, Sgt. Nate Sullivan, Sgt. Mark Alexander, Lt. Jason Williams, Lt. Tony Simmons, Lt. Chris Ginn, Lt. Matt Richter, Lt. Kevin Davis, Sgt. Joel Scrianko, Sgt. Jon Gottfried, Sgt. Jon Montague and Matt Bagley. Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services is now an Accredited Paramedic Training Center until the next review in 2024!!