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‘Heartbeat of the Winds’ a success

Posted: Monday, Oct 8th, 2012

PINEDALE – About 50 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families from all over Wyoming gathered in Pinedale last week. But they weren’t responding to a tragedy; they came to participate in the first Heartbeat of the Winds Conference.

Organized by Sublette County EMS (SCEMS), the conference – which lasted from Thursday through Saturday – was designed as a fun way for emergency personnel to log hours and practice skills to keep up their certification requirements.

“These kinds of events are really important to these guys,” Wyoming EMS Director and conference-goer Andy Gienapp said. “I’m real proud of them for getting it up and running.”

Attendees got to hone their skills and pick up new knowledge by participating in a variety of hands-on scenarios, such as Emergency Vehicle Operators’ Courses (EVOC) – which includes how to drive vehicles like ambulances – and working with volunteer victims of mock suspension injuries and broken limbs.

The response from those attending was overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been a really fun conference,” said Amanda Putt of Star Valley EMS. “I hope they keep on doing it.”

Gwen Carrillo, a veteran EMT with SCEMS, believes the quality of the conference was topnotch.

“This has been awesome,” she said. “This is one of the better conferences I’ve been to.”

Before Heartbeat of the Winds – which SCEMS hopes to continue annually or biennially – local EMS personnel didn’t have many options for keeping up with their certification requirements.

Similar events are held in Jackson and Rock Springs, and farther away in Salt Lake City, SCEMS EMT Heidi Gay said.

Gay, who is credited with spearheading the effort to begin Heartbeat of the Winds, believes such conferences are vital for EMS personnel, for their practical uses as well as for fun.

“It helps you keep your skills up,” she said. “But it’s also about remembering why you love your job.”

Gay’s dedication and efforts were rewarded at a dinner Friday evening in the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room. During the festivities, SCEMS Director Kenna Tanner presented Gay with a special gift for her hard work.

Part-time EMT Wendy Boman also was honored at the dinner for her 20 years of service to SCEMS.

Gay is proud to serve with SCEMS and believes they are some of the best at what they do.

“They’re excellent medics and they’re excellent teachers,” she said. “They are a blessing.”

With 50 participants in its first year, the conference is something county organizers hope grows year after year.

“We didn’t quite know what to expect,” Tanner said at Friday’s dinner. “This is overwhelming.’

For the complete article see the 10-09-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-09-2012 paper.

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