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Medical plan interests emergency personnel

September 21, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

erinc@herald-mail.com

Joan Fortney received a copy of Maryland's Emergency Medical Services plan Monday and had not had a chance to read the 61-page draft by Tuesday. Fortney, manager of trauma emergency medical services at Washington County Hospital, said when she had a chance to read it she was interested in a change from plans used in the past - a section solely devoted to trauma.

She learned about the change Tuesday night at Robinwood Medical Center during a regional gathering to solicit public comment on the draft plan, which will guide the delivery of EMS services in Maryland once it is adopted.

"It's good to have the trauma piece separate and in one place, so we won't be flipping through different sections to find our piece," Fortney said.

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Information for trauma personnel could be found in other sections of the plan, which is updated every five years, according to James Brown, spokesman for the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems.

The meeting Tuesday was the first of five planned across the state.

Brigitte Heller, EMS Management Specialist with the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (WCVFRA), said she had not had a chance to review the document, but said she will look at the draft "in relation to where we are in Washington County and how it will affect us in our plan to go forward."

Blaine Snyder, a representative to the regional council from the WCVFRA, said he will look at the plan to ensure Washington County's needs are being addressed.

"MIEMSS has usually done a good job recognizing us out here," he said. "As time goes by, we will find out if there will be problems for us."

Other comments focused on large-scale emergencies, like terrorist attacks or natural disasters. Instead of broad plans that include a lot of people, planning should focus on neighborhoods and what citizens can do to help themselves until emergency personnel can arrive, said Marshall Botkin, a member of Junior Volunteer Fire Co. in Frederick, Md.

"There needs to be some component to train (the public) until help gets to them," he said. "Something for the layperson so they can have basic knowledge."

Tuesday's meeting was for personnel from Washington and Frederick counties. Further public comment on the plan will be accepted by fax at 410-706-2138 or e-mail at pgainer@miemss.org.

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