EMS Week: YFD Paramedic and EMT of the Year, and other recognitions


YUMA — Observation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week continued last night with a Proclamation read by City of Yuma Deputy Mayor Chris Morris and special recognition of several individuals, for achievements and service to our department and community. Representing the Yuma Fire Department for the presenting of these awards was Fire Chief Dusty Fields, and Interim Battalion Chief Daniel Espino. Assisting the chiefs were Deputy Mayor Chris Morris, Councilmember Gary Knight, Councilmember Carol Smith, and Councilmember Arturo Morales.
A special “Spanner Award” was presented to Amanda Aguirre, President of Regional Center for Border Health, who donated 8 high resolution video laryngoscopes (UEScopes) that were distributed to all of our front-line ambulances. These scopes facilitate personnel while performing endotracheal intubation to be able to breathe for patients that are not able to maintain their own airway. These cameras give the paramedic a high-resolution video and the capability to record their intubations that can be used for training purposes at a later time. They also contribute to safety because it keeps the paramedic at a safer distance away from possible exposures. The Yuma Fire Department would like thank Amanda Aguirre for her generosity, which allowed our front-line units to be able to be issued a video scope.
Another special “Spanner Award” went to Rod Reed, Treasurer for Western Arizona Council of Emergency Medical Services for a contribution to our department of an OB Susie Mannequin. This mannequin provides our training division with another tool for our providers to practice complicated or difficult pregnancies and deliveries. Both of these contributions have made our department be up to date with technology and have given us the tools to continue some of the high-risk, low frequency medical calls we encounter.
Firefighter/EMT Michael Worwood was recognized with a Life Saving Award. In March of 2023, Mike entered a smoke charged mobile home to search for a known occupant. With limited visibility and help from his crewmembers, Mike was able to find the single occupant inside and carry him to safety! The occupant sustained serious injuries from the incident and likely would have died had he not been found. To all of us, it is just part of the job, but to those not in the industry, true heroic efforts were made by Firefighter Worwood that day. Firefighter Michael Worwood arrived on the scene prepared to work, went into action without hesitation, and put himself at risk to pull a trapped victim out of an atmosphere that was immediately dangerous to life and health.
Firefighter/Paramedic Jesus Sillas was recognized with a Cobra Award. The Cobra Award is given to a member of our department for their commitment to strive for better documentation. Paramedic Sillas, while assigned to one of the busiest medic units on our department, continuously maintained a high standard on his documentation. Paramedic Sillas also attended a few sessions of our Quality Assurance report review meetings where he gained and implemented extra knowledge of documentation that he has consistently applied to all his reports.
An EMS Excellence Award was given to Fire Captain Frank Reed, Fire Engineer Justin Zahn, Firefighter Trevor Smaltz, Firefighter Mauro Rodriguez, and Firefighter Victor Garcia. On March 30, a call came into Fire Dispatch for an individual with chest pain at the Border Patrol station. The crew quickly identified the severity of the patient’s condition and rendered decisive and efficient treatment. Their patient interaction time was just over 12 minutes. During that time, they had applied a 12 lead to recognize the appropriate treatment, rendered IV therapy, administered 2 rounds of necessary medication, and notified the hospital of their arrival alerting them to the severity of the patient’s condition. The work of this crew saved their patient’s life. In the cardiac realm, “time is tissue” and without the expedited care that this crew rendered this patient’s outcome could have been drastically different. This crew could not have accomplished what they did without being well trained and experienced enough to answer the demand of this call. They are a direct reflection and embodiment of this organization’s commitment to the highest level of care we can provide to our citizens.
This year’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) of the Year for the Yuma Fire Department is Firefighter/EMT Ty Fritz. Ty Fritz has been an Emergency Medical Technician/Fire Fighter with the Yuma Fire Department since January 5, 2015. During his career, his patient care has been noteworthy. He displays compassion and sensitivity to all his patients, explaining why and what he is doing which makes the patient as comfortable as possible. Ty approaches all calls as if treating his family member. Even though he is not a Certified Paramedic, Ty is very knowledgeable about Advance Life Support skills. Within the Department, he also has gotten involved with Hazardous Materials duties and has done a superb job organizing all mitigation equipment in the HAZMAT trailer. In addition, outside of the Department, Ty has expanded his education by attending trainings and classes in such areas as the Security and Emergency Response Training Center and the Center for Radiological Nuclear Training. Overall Ty Fritz has been an exceptional employee within the Department deserving of this recognition.
This year’s Paramedic of the Year for the Yuma Fire Department is Firefighter/Paramedic Fernando Quintero. Firefighter Fernando Quintero has been with the Fire Department for just over five years. He excels as a team member, leader and mentor by encouraging all around him to be better. In March 2023 Fernando treated a male victim that had burns to his face (including airway), hands and arms. He ran the call as the lead Paramedic and gave a level of care that gave the best outcome for this burn victim. He was able to treat all of the obvious life threatening injuries and begin the care needed prior this person succumbing to his injuries. His quick thinking and exemplary level of care led to this patient being quickly transferred from YRMC to the Maricopa Burn Unit. Fernando has always stepped up and been part of our community and Department involvement. He has been involved with the Candidate Physical Abilities Test for potential new employees and the Department Emergency Medical Service Committee. He also has participated in the 9/11 Tunnel to Towers run and Tower Climb.
This year’s 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher of the Year is Heather Boland-Thompson. Incredibly experienced, Heather helps train new people and is a great source of information in the dispatch center. Her quick wit and hugs also go a long way when it comes to tough calls or when you need support at work. Dispatch has been experiencing low staffing and Heather often picks up overtime and is one of the first to volunteer to help when needed. She has been with the City for 14 years and is extremely deserving of this award. We truly appreciate her daily hard work and dedication to our City and its citizens. She has been an inspiration to those in dispatch.
The following promotions also occurred:
Battalion Chief: Alvin LuedtkeFire Captain: Travis LaRueFire Captain: Francisco LeonFire Captain: David Padilla Jr.Fire Captain: Jordan SimpsonFire Engineer: Scot BeebeFire Engineer: Anthony FernandezFire Engineer: Leonardo GonzalesFire Engineer: Manuel PelayoFire Engineer: Jared White