Skip Gentry is settling into his new role as director of the South Lorain County Ambulance District while making efforts to modernize procedure and improve protocol.
He led the charge in organizing a joint training exercise held Oct. 14 with Wellington firefighters and crew members from Cleveland Metro LifeFlight at the Lorain County Fairgrounds.
The day focused on establishing breathing for victims in car crashes. Students from Lorain County Community College who are working toward careers in the medical field were also on hand to observe.
“We just tried to simulate an accident, with us focusing on the breathing while the fire department performed their extraction techniques,” said Gentry, who worked as a LifeFlight nurse specialist and base coordinator before accepting an offer to become SLCAD’s new director in August.
“LifeFlight also helped a lot putting it together as did Fred Swanson, one of our supervisors here. It went very, very well. Judging by the comments from our department and others, this was the best training they’ve had in years.”
Gentry said all training for at least the next year will be “protocol driven.”
“For any change made in our protocol, we’re going to spend a training night just focusing on that,” he said. “We want to reinforce our learning and make sure the knowledge is being interpreted correctly.”
When responding to calls involving drug overdoses, Gentry said many similarities between working in Cleveland and Wellington can be found in terms of the number of occurrences and the severity of patient’s situations.
“It’s not just in the rural areas,” he said. “They see quite a bit out there too (Cleveland). No one is immune. I don’t care what side or what kind of town you live in. Many, many agencies are working on new strategies to combat this. A big part of that is education.”
“This is a huge problem and it’s not going away,” he said.
A phone application called Responsoft is now being used by SLCAD employees as a quick protocol guide on the job, most often to determine the proper dosage of medication to administer based on a patient’s weight and body mass. Gentry said Ashland firefighters have used the software the past five years.
“Any time someone is injured or sick, their weight can be immediately put in to find the benchmarks and targets for that individual patients,” Gentry said. “It’s something I know a lot of the departments wish they had. When treating kids, everything is weight-related, not age-related. We all know a 12-year-old can weight as much as an adult. This allows EMTs to be a lot more specific and scientific in their treatment.”
Efforts are being made at SLCAD to gain a state teaching certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services.
“Getting that certification means you’re a model EMS system in Ohio,” said Gentry. “The only department in Ohio that has it right now is North Ridgeville. This commission looks at everything, how you hire, how you educate, and how you implement it.”
“There’s great people in this community and this department and I’m thrilled to be working with them,” he said. “They want to create the best services possible for this area.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.