Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ketchum honors firefighters, EMTs

City issues commendations for responses to cardiac arrests

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas, far right, issued commendations Monday to six emergency responders who helped save a cardiac-arrest victimís life on Jan. 29. The group is, from left to right: Police Chief Steve Harkins and firefighting personnel Ben Varner, Brian Poster, Tom McLean and Tom Ancona. Not pictured is John Rathfon. Standing between Ancona and Jonas is Fire Chief Mike Elle. Photo by Willy Cook

    The city of Ketchum on Monday issued commendations to 16 firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics for their work on two separate occasions in saving the lives of two cardiac-arrest victims.
    “I’m exceedingly proud of everyone honored here tonight,” Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle said. “I’m very happy to be a part of this team, and can’t say enough about them.”
    Mayor Nina Jonas issued the commendations for each individual after telling the stories behind both response calls.
    On Jan. 29 at 8:58 a.m. the Ketchum Fire Department and the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched for a report of a man having difficulty breathing in the Cold Springs subdivision. Capt. Tom Ancona first arrived on the scene and found the patient sitting on a chair having extreme difficulty breathing and speaking.
    After the patient went into cardiac arrest, Ancona and the patient’s roommate administered CPR. Ketchum Police Chief Steve Harkins, Capt. Tom McLean, Senior Lt. John Rathfon, Squad Leader Brian Poster and Engineer Ben Varner arrived on the scene at 9:04 a.m. The crew continued to administer life support until the patient was transported to St. Luke’s hospital and subsequently stabilized at St. Luke’s Magic Valley in Twin Falls.
    Each person on the scene received a commendation for his work on the emergency. Ancona, McLean, Poster and Varner were also issued a second commendation for an emergency response call made in west Ketchum on Feb. 9. At 5:21 p.m., the Fire Department was dispatched for a report of a man who was not breathing.
    EMTs Greg Martin and Ashley Yagla first found the patient in cardiac arrest and immediately administered CPR.
    “Paramedics Ed Binnie and Tory Frank began cardiac life support treatment while Tom Ancona sustained the patient’s breathing,” Mayor Nina Jonas said. “As treatment on scene progressed and the patient regained a heartbeat, the patient was stabilized and secured from an upstairs apartment down a steep, narrow stairway to the ambulance.”
    The patient was sent to St. Luke’s Medical Center after receiving CPR, and was stabilized after being sent by helicopter to St. Luke’s Magic Valley in Twin Falls.
    In addition to the four people who were commended for both calls, 10 people received commendations for their work on the second call. They included Senior Lt. Tory Frank, Lt. Ed Binnie, Lt. Greg Martin and Squad Leaders Rick Robertson, Pete Schwartz and Brian Poster. EMTs Kelly Lewis, David O’Donnell, Ryan DeMoe, Anja Sundali and Ashley Yagla received commendations as well.

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