EMS Vitals, September 2018, DHSS Newsletter

September 2018  

EMS Vitals Masthead Revised

Dear Alaska EMS Provider,

Welcome to the second edition of the Alaska EMS Vitals Newsletter. If this is the first time you have received it we hope that you find it informative as we have developed this newsletter in an effort to keep you apprised of local, state and federal EMS changes and will be sending it out monthly. Please make sure to share it with your colleagues!

Sign up for the EMS Vitals Newsletter today! 

This month we welcome our new Data Manager Brian Ritchie to the State EMS Office. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, has a true passion for EMS, and appreciates what Alaska EMS providers do every day for their communities. He will be based in Anchorage and work collaboratively with our sections Trauma Registrar to provide better data to the EMS system in order to facilitate our efforts in moving the EMS system forward based on best practices, data driven decisions, and evidence based medicine.

We hope to see many of you at the upcoming Hale Borealis Forum and Southern Region Symposium.  Our Section Chief, Heidi Hedberg, and I will be having an open forum question and answer session at the Southern Region Symposium, so please plan on attending and bring your questions about the State EMS Office and where we would like to head with your support!


Todd McDowell, State Office EMS Manager


Medical Director's Corner

Michael Levy M.D., State EMS Medical Director


Strokes are among a small number of time critical events that emphasize the importance of well-developed systems of care as a fundamental element of best patient outcomes. The revitalized use of tPa at thrombolysis-capable hospitals has been a major step in providing new hope for a devastating condition. The ability of EMS to rapidly recognize strokes and to provide early notification via “stroke alerts” can significantly improve door-to-needle times which is highly correlated with positive patient outcomes.  A new era of stroke care is also emerging that is backed by a number of recent studies that show severe strokes caused by the acute occlusion of a large cerebral vessel can have complete recovery if endovascular thrombectomy is performed within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms.  The good news in Alaska is that we are on the verge of having that capability on a 24x7x365 basis in at minimum one Anchorage hospital.   In the next few months we hope to provide statewide training on an improved EMS stroke triage tool (BE FAST) as well as training on a brief clinical exam that can demonstrate large vessel occlusion symptoms. We hope that these tools will be of benefit across the state to help guide decisions regarding the best initial destination and early use of medevac to assist in achieving the best possible outcome for the patient.

Alaska Council on EMS (ACEMS)

EMS Governor's Awards

Thank you for all of your nominations!  This years collection period is closed. The award recipients will be announced at the 43rd Annual Southern Region EMS Symposium.

Task Force Recruiting

The Governor’s Alaska Council of EMS received a number of applications from highly qualified individuals. Individuals selected to be on the Task Force will be notified in the next 30 days.

Training Committee

The Training Committee will host two upcoming meetings.  The first meeting will be held September 19th. The call in number is 1-800-944-8766 and the participant code is 83001. The second meeting will an in-person meeting held October 16th-18th in Anchorage, Alaska at the Southern Region EMS Council facility. For more information please contact the Training Committee Chairperson, Anjela Johnston. 

Upcoming ACEMS Meeting Information

October 5th, 9am
Call In: 1-800-944-8766
Participation Code: 83001


Flu Man

Break the Flu Chain

Flu season is upon us and now is the time to prevent it. The following simple steps can protect yourself and others around you, especially your EMS patients.  

  • Get a flu vaccination
  • Wash your hands
  • Treat symptoms immediately

For further information visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Influenza Webpage.

CME Opportunity: Flu Prevention and Intervention (2 hours Alaska EMS CME)

Save the date for the following educational opportunities:


Hale Borealis Forum

October 23-25, Dena'ina Center, Anchorage

The Hale Borealis Forum is a three day conference that brings together healthcare, EMS, emergency management, law enforcement, and other critical stakeholders, with a focus on health and medical emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The multi-agency, collaborative approach to health preparedness is reflected in this year’s theme: “Strengthening Whole Community Partnerships to Improve Healthcare Resiliency.”
Hale Borealis Registration


NAEMSP Medical Directors Operations Course

October 26th, Frontier Building, Suite 100, Anchorage

This course will be tailored to address Alaska EMS practice and have faculty on behalf of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP). This course has been well-received nationwide and internationally. More details to follow.


Southern Region EMS Symposium

November 7-10, Egan Center, Anchorage

Pediatric Clinical & EMS Tracks, Resuscitation Academy, Lessons from Libya: Care Under Fire, Burn Care: Long term EMS & Clinical, and more.
Southern Region EMS Symposium Registration


Resuscitation Academy

November 8, Egan Center, Anchorage

An intense one day RA will be offered during the Southern Region EMS Symposium with faculty from the Seattle RA associated with the Global Resuscitation Alliance. Attendance will be limited so register soon!

Calling all Pediatric Instructors!

Alaska EMS is developing a list of pediatric instructors to provide resources and support. If you are a pediatric instructor please email the Alaska EMS Training Officer.   

EMS for Children (EMSC) Program

Pediatric Emergency Care Coordination

Alaska EMSC was interested in hearing about how pediatric emergency care is coordinated within your EMS agency and conducted a needs assessment in partnership with the National EMSC Data and Analysis Research Center (NEDARC) in late 2017. From this needs assessment, EMSC found that 26% of Alaska State Certified EMS agencies reported having a Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinator (PECC) who was responsible for coordinating one or more of the below list of activities for their agency (or for multiple agencies).

  • Ensures the pediatric perspective is included in the development of EMS protocols and that developed
    pediatric clinical-practice guidelines and protocols are followed.
  • Promotes pediatric continuing-education opportunities, agency participation in pediatric injury prevention programs, family centered care, and pediatric emergency care research efforts.
  • Oversees the pediatric-process improvement.
  • Ensures the availability of pediatric medications, equipment, and supplies.
  • Interacts with the ED pediatric emergency care coordinator.

A designated PECC need not be dedicated solely to this role; it can be an individual already in place who assumes this role as part of their existing duties. For more information on Pediatric Care Coordination please contact Alaska EMSC at 907-465-5467 or email the Alaksa EMSC Program.

2018 NHTSA Car Seat Banner

Child Passenger Safety Week, September 23rd-29th!

September is National Child Passenger Safety Month, and the Alaska Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Coalition is hosting car seat checkup events and certification courses in many areas of the state. Please check out the Alaska CPS Coalition's event calendar for a list of statewide events coming up.  

Car seats and booster seats are confusing, which contributes to high rates of misuse (errors).  A Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician can assist caregivers to use their children’s car seats correctly. 

During calendar year 2017, members of the Alaska CPS Coalition reported 1,845 car seat inspections. Only 301 of those inspections revealed correctly installed car seats.

84% of car seats inspected were found to have some form of misuse or were uninstalled upon arrival.

Many EMS agencies in Alaska have Certified Car Seat Technicians on staff, and serve their communities as car seat fitting stations.  If you or your agency is interested in offering car seat services to your community, please email Sara Penisten Turcic or call 907-212-3194.

The NHTSA Child Car Safety toolkit is also available for you to download to get information on how to generate awareness about child car safety.


Alaska EMS Certification Portal

Please visit the Certification Portal, Alaska’s online EMS certification system. The Certification Portal allows you to submit applications, check the status of your application, manage your certification, search for EMS personnel and search for upcoming EMS training courses

For Ambulance Services Expiring December 31st of this Year. 

Please allow adequate time for the recertification process. The application for service certification and expanded scope, if applicable, will need to be submitted online through our Certification Portal.  Applicants are required to submit a roster that includes all members and/or employees of the ambulance service.

  • ETTs, Nurses, Physicians, and/or other personnel will need to create an account and fill out the RN/ Paramedic/ Other application and be added to the service roster.
  • Administrative staff, Medical Director, and Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinators (PECC) will also be required to be indicated on the roster. Please see the EMSC section above for further information on PECC. 

If you have any questions about the Ambulance Recertification or Expanded Scope of Practice application process, please email the Certification Officer.



December 31- Ambulance Service and EMT 1 Recertification

March 31- EMT 2, EMT 3, and Instructor Recertification

Login to your account here to re-certify. 



The Alaska Uniform Response Online Reporting Access (AURORA) Elite, is the new state online reporting system for EMS providers. The State EMS Office uses this data for quality improvement initiatives throughout the state and uploads this data into the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS).

AURORA 2.0 users are currently transitioning to the AURORA Elite platform which yields NEMSIS 3.0 compliant data.  If your agency is still using 2.0 please contact your regional data manager.  

Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES)

The State EMS Office is excited to announce that we will begin reporting to CARES.

Out of hospital cardiac arrest is one of largest causes of death in adults in Alaska.  Nationwide there is huge variability in the survival, ranging from less than 5% to over 20% for all rhythms and when the arrest is witnessed and the initial rhythm was ventricular fibrillation, optimized systems have shown year after year 60% survival with good neurological outcomes whereas lesser systems still have only single digit success.  Good systems have one thing in common: they measure their systems and as they measure their systems they improve because they use the metrics to address shortcomings.  In other words, you can only manage what you measure. 

CARES (www.mycares.net) is currently one of the few nationwide standard entry platforms to detail the events associated with cardiac arrest starting with EMS dispatch information, followed by field information and ultimately hospital care and patient’s neurological status at discharge.  The EMS information will soon be able to be directly uploaded to the CARES network via Aurora Elite.



Upcoming Events

Training Committee Meeting, Teleconference

September 19


Training Committee Meeting, Anchorage

October 16-18


Alaska Council on EMS Meeting, Teleconference

October 5


Hale Borealis Forum, Anchorage

October 23-25


NAEMSP Medical Directors Operations Course, Anchorage

October 26


Southern Region EMS Symposium, Anchorage

November 7-10

EMS Community Corner

This is the community corner section where we are encouraging you to "Shout Out" to a fellow EMS member or service and recognize them for a job well done on a recent call, training or community outreach event. Please send your "Shout Out" to Renee Escamilla.


Important Deadlines

Ambulance Service and EMT 1 Recertification

December 31


 EMT 2 and 3 and Instructor Recertification

March 31, 2019

AURORA Quick Facts

 33 Alaska EMS Services actively report into AURORA Elite.

16 Alaska EMS Services still report into AURORA 2.0.

Pediatric Medical Direction

ems pediatric medical direction

EMS Regions

Interior Region EMS

Maniilaq Association

North Slope Borough EMS

Norton Sound Health Corporation

Southeast Region EMS

Southern Region EMS Council

Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

Contact Us

Office 465-3140

Certification 465-3029

Training 465-8508

Data 269-4990

EMS for Children 465-5467

State EMS Manager 465-8634