WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
I have been in Emergency Medical Services since 2005 when I joined my local rural rescue squad as a JR Member because my friend was doing it. The moment I ran my first call I knew this was it for me. In 2006 I took my Emergency Medical Technician Basic course and in 2007 I was cleared as an Attendant in Charge on an ambulance and was running my first calls.
I quickly decided that I wanted a well rounded view of everything to do with public safety, except dispatching I never could keep up with that. Soon I took and passed a fire academy and began riding on the fire trucks as well. I was voted in as a Lieutenant of supplies (I love logistics and organization) and continued on with my volunteering. Soon though I wanted to expand and was hired as an EMT for the Kings Dominion Safety team and worked there for many years. I also worked for a private EMS transport company and during that time I became a Nationally Registered Paramedic with an Associates Degree.
I applied for and was hired at a fire department as a Firefighter/Medic and was loving it and here is where my story could have ended. However, a very close friend of mine called me one day and asked me to apply for a position at the Regional EMS Council. Feeling kind of stagnant I did, and was very surprised when I was hired. I worked as the Program Coordinator for the Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) for two years before being promoted as the Training Coordinator. This promotion opened my eyes to the world of EMS education and with some very good mentors (James Gould and Adam Alford) I became certified as a Virginia EMS Coordinator (EC) and started teaching my own EMT courses. I then went back to school and received my bachelors in ‘Global Leadership in Disaster Response’. I accepted a job as a Training Coordinator in disaster preparedness and response and love it.
During my time working and teaching for ODEMSA I realized I needed a partner and in came Andy Inge. I had known Andy for years and I roped him into becoming an EC as well and joining me. We started teaching EMT together in 2018 and have multiple classes under our belts.
I believe that to become a competent and respected EMS provider you must have a solid foundation of didactic and practical education. Our EMT Class is very hands on with the student physically performing all skills during a comprehensive Integrated Out of Hospital Scenario. There is no verbalizing in our classes as I believe in the Army quote “Train as you fight and fight as you train”.
In my spare time I volunteer at my local rescue squad (sensing a theme here), play with my pups, devise creative ways to ridicule Andy, and hang out with my family including my supportive husband Eric. I am also an avid gamer, lover of cooking and computer coding.
My EMS journey began in 2000 when I took an EMT course through Hermitage Technical Center. In 2001, I decided to take an Intermediate class to further my education and branch out into the ALS realm. As Intermediate was fairly new and the clinical requirements not quite clear, most of my classmates and I ended up testing out at the Cardiac Tech level and then later bridging to Intermediate. After graduating high school in 2000, I started volunteering at Tuckahoe VRS where I stayed until making the switch to Lakeside VRS in 2005. Throughout my 20+ years in EMS, I have held many volunteer positions, to include Training Officer, Operations Officer, and President.
My career path has been different than most other EMS providers in that I have not worked in a lot of paid EMS capacities. I have retail customer service and supervisory experience which gave me skills to speak to the public and problems solve situations. I also worked for several years as a legal assistant to a criminal defense attorney, which provided me with the needed legal experience to be appointed as a Magistrate in the 6th Judicial Region in 2007. As a Magistrate, I made probable cause determinations, issues warrants, conducted bail hearings, issued mental health TDO’s, and conducted other civil processes for 5 years. While rewarding, the Magistrate’s Office could also be physically and emotionally draining. The 24/7, 365 days a year, operation made a rotating schedule become overwhelming after awhile and I made the decision to seek out another challenging opportunity.
In 2012, I was employed by the Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP), in the Enforcement Division, where I remain to date. DHP is the umbrella agency to the 13 health boards, ie. Board of Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry, etc. The Enforcement Division handles the intake and investigation of complaints against healthcare providers regulated by the Boards. DHP is similar to the Office of EMS, just for nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, etc. While a majority of my work experience has been non-EMS related, I have worked in a few EMS capacities. From 2002-2014, I worked part time at Kings Dominion in the First Aid/Safety Department. I started out as a BLS line worker, then moved to ALS, First Aid Supervisor, and finally Safety Area Supervisor, where I oversaw the Safety Department as a whole along with my co-Area Supervisors. Amusement park EMS is vastly different than normal EMS in that you also serve in the capacity of a liability and worker’s comp investigator, you act as a risk manager, and you handle customer service type complaints related to the park in general.
Megan and I met while working at Kings Dominion many moons ago. Our friendship grew throughout the years and extended outside of our work relationship. In 2018, while she was working for ODEMSA, Megan asked me to help her teach an EMT class. I had never really considered teaching EMT classes before then, but I knew that she and I made a good team, so I agreed. That was it, I was hooked. In 2019, I decided to apply for my Education Coordinator (EC) certification with Megan as my mentor and by January of 2020, I was certified as an EC. Megan and I have since taught 4 more classes, 5 in total together hosted by ODEMSA; with each one adapted to EMS education standard changes, while also adding our own personal touch to make the course enjoyable, but also as realistic as possible. Together we offer interactive and immersive education which we hope best prepares our students for the real world EMS experience.
In my personal life, I am the father of two very friendly chihuahuas, enjoy escape rooms, love cricket mobile (calls after 9PM are free!), hanging out with family and friends, and riding rescue.