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EMS volunteers hone skills at institute

SHARON — The EMS Institute at Sharon Hospital hosted the third module of the New England Council of EMS Leadership seminars on Saturday, Sept. 17. The institute presents one module each year. There are a total of eight modules.Eleven emergency services volunteers from Connecticut and New York attended this seminar, which focused mainly on finances and record keeping. It was geared toward EMS captains, chiefs, officers and financial managers.The seminar costs $50 for the full day, and includes meals, according to EMS Institute Coordinator David Cadwell.“We’re able to charge about half of what most other providers in Connecticut charge, thanks to a grant from the Connecticut Office for Rural Health,” he said.There is an incentive to make the seminars as affordable and appealing as possible, he noted. “These are busy volunteers, taking the time to further their education.”And this finance seminar is not required by the state, as are others. Faculty for this seminar included Bruce Dexter, CEO of New Britain Emergency Medical Services; and John Vose, administrator of Upper Valley Ambulance in Fairlee, Vt.The state of Connecticut divides the state into five EMS regions. Sharon and the surrounding towns are in Region 5. Also attending the seminar was Jean Speck, Region 5 EMS coordinator for the state Office of Emergency Services.The institute supports eight emergency squads in Connecticut and eight in nearby New York state. The EMS Institute is also an American Heart Association training center, Cadwell said.“We train and place two volunteers in each emergency squad who are qualified to provide the mandatory CPR training to all volunteers.” In 2010, the Institute issued more than 1,200 CPR cards to squad volunteers who completed the training. They are on track to match that number this year.The EMS Institute also sponsors monthly case review meetings for EMS members at Sharon Hospital. (Meetings are not held in July and August.)“Volunteers come to review interesting and/or difficult cases. It’s an opportunity to learn. About 40 to 50 EMS volunteers attend each session.”Every year in March, the institute presents an all-day symposium at The Hotchkiss School for EMS volunteers. The program includes lectures, vendor booths and a luncheon. This year, 120 volunteers participated. Cadwell credited the success of the institute to Dr. Jared Zelman, founder and medical director of the EMS Institute. For more information about the institute or the services it provides, call 860-364-4665 or email coordinator@emsinstitute.org.

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