EMS Outreach

EMS personnel are an integral part of our emergency department, serving as initial caregivers to those in need of emergency care. Because our good help begins with them, we want to show our thanks by providing continuing education opportunities and recognition events throughout the year.

Happy EMS Week and thanks for all that you do for our community. We are proud to be partners with you to provide good help for a lifetime.

View our awards.

News and Events


Community Tree Lighting & Holiday Celebration

Community First Responders Dinner

Anthony E. McDowell, chief of the Henrico Country Division of Fire, has been chosen as the 2015 Career Fire Chief of the Year  by the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs. McDowell, who has led the Division of Fire since October 2012, was selected from 15 nominees and will receive the award June 20 at the organization's annual awards banquet in Birmingham, Alabama.

McDowell joined the Division of Fire as a firefighter in 1997 and rose to fire lieutenant and fire captain before becoming battalion chief of administration in 2011 and chief in 2012.

A division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs provides leadership to career and volunteer fire service officials, managers of emergency services organizations and others in 10 states plus the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Anthony E. McDowell

St. Francis Medical Center has achieved the Mission: Lifeline® Receiving Center-GOLD Level Recognition Award. This award is based upon our Mission: Lifeline achievements through the ACTION Registry®-GWTG™ data submitted for the 2014 calendar year. 

Listed below, the criteria to acheive the Mission: Lifeline Gold Award must meet 85% or greater composite score with no single measure below 75% for specified periods of time.

GOLD 2 Years (8 Consecutive Calendar Quarters) of achieving overall Mission: Lifeline compliance criteria.

  • Percentage of direct admit STEMI patients with Door-to-device time less than or equal to 90 minutes, non-transfer
  • Percentage of direct admit STEMI patients (arrival via EMS – "Ambulance" Only) with FMC-to-device time 90 minutes
  • Percentage of STEMI patients receiving aspirin within 24 hours of hospital arrival
  • Percentage of STEMI patients on aspirin at discharge
  • Percentage of STEMI patients on beta blocker at discharge
  • Percentage of STEMI patients with LDL>100 who receive statins or lipid lowering drugs
  • Percentage of STEMI patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction on ACEI/ARB at discharge 
  • Percentage of STEMI patients that smoke with smoking cessation counseling at discharge

GWTG Gold Receiving 2015

A Richmond native, Gail LeFever has been in nursing since graduating from Richmond Technical Center in 1970. She has acquired a wealth of medical knowledge that spans 40 years and numerous jobs within the medical field. She began her career as an EMT with the Abingdon Volunteer Rescue Squad before becoming a Shock Trauma technician. In 2006, Ms. LeFever, along with her son and daughter, became EMTs through the James City County Fire Department before she continued her education to the next level as an EMT-Intermediate with her son. In 2006, Gail and her daughter joined the Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue. Today, she serves as a captain of Lower King and Queen Volunteer Fire Department, where her husband is currently a member. Though her crew is small in number of personnel, they provide outstanding care to the surrounding areas – a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication Ms. LeFever and her team bring every day.

Way to go Gail!

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 5.7 million Americans suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart muscle is too weak or too stiff to pump sufficient amounts of blood throughout the body, impeding oxygen supply. The primary cause of heart failure is hypertension.

The following are clinical pearls for assessing patients experiencing heart failure exacerbation and essential information needed when calling to report to the emergency room.

  • Shortness of breath on arrival
  • Assess duration of breathing difficulty – new onset or persistent?
  • Does the shortness of breath occur with or without activity?
  • Breathing difficulty sitting up or lying flat?
  • Pulse oximetry
  • If chest pain accompanies shortness of breath
  • Assessment of lung and heart sounds
  • Assess for edema, especially facial, abdominal or lower extremities
  • Code status 
    • Full
    • Partial
    • DNR
  • Medications
    • Last time medications were taken (diuretics, blood pressure, etc.)

Essentials to call in report to hospital:

  • Presentation of client on arrival of scene
  • Lung and heart sounds
  • Initial pulse oximetry and treatment
  • Including nebulizer treatment delivered or CPPV device in use
  • EKG findings or present on arrival if unable to transmit electronically
  • Medications delivered and outcome
  • IV access
  • Code status
  • Next of kin if patient is unable to speak

February 28th marked the start of the free two-day event where first responders from across Virginia came together for one of the largest regionally held EMS training events. More than 500 EMS providers, nurses and law enforcement members took part in the 65 available classes in order to reach the required hours for recertification. Courses included the latest information on treatment of strokes, advanced airway skills and safe vehicle operations, just to name a few.

The event is held at the Henrico County Training Center and is a great way to obtain required recertification hours. Mark your calendars for the 7th Annual Central Virginia EMS Education Expo, which will be held March 5-6, 2016.

A full-time paramedic with RAA since December of 2011, Garrett is a consummate professional with a positive attitude on and off the clock. Always wanting to help his peers achieve their goals, he is known to stay well after his EOT in order to lend assistance to other crews. Even on his personal time, Garett aids new employees with understanding protocol and documentation and gives tutorials on devices.

Currently, Garett is the Chair of the Clinical Services Committee and leads by example, driving enthusiasm and engagement among his other employees. Simply put, Garett Freeman exemplifies why RAA provides world-class EMS personnel and we’re proud to have him on our team.

Congratulations Garett and keep up the excellent work!

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Sixty years ago this year, a group of nine volunteers assembled together with the sole mission to make South Richmond and Chesterfield County a safer place for its residents. In July of 1955, the FVVRS was officially created. Their first ambulance was a converted Buick Hearse, and a donated chicken coop served as the group’s squad building. By the end of 1956, they had 41 members, two ambulances and had run 85 EMS calls.

Today, the FVVRS has over 125 members and 2600 EMS responses each year. Led by lifetime member and President John Hilliard and Operations Chief Dave Johnson, their vision for the future is as bright as ever. Armed with a new mission statement: “Pride in Service to Others” – Pride stands for: Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Enthusiasm. After 60 years of service, it’s clear to see the Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad and its members back up their words.

Since she was a little girl, Antigone “Tig” Branch dreamed of becoming a nurse. And since 1994, after receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villanova University, that dream has been a reality. She began her career on a progressive step-down unit at a small community hospital in Reading, Pa., before focusing on becoming a CRNA. While her start was great, she aimed for more.

In 1997, Ms. Branch decided to move to Richmond to work for VCU Health System in the women’s medical and surgical unit. After that unit closed in 2000, she was given the opportunity to work in the Emergency Department. There her passion continued to grow, and she was a member of the forensics team, chair of the ED council practice and later the organizational Practice Council. In 2010, after Ms. Branch obtained her Master of Science in Nursing from VCU, she managed the outpatient Internal Medicine Clinics at VCU, while working the ED on the weekends. In 2014, Ms. Branch joined the Bon Secours family at Richmond Community Hospital because of their shared commitment to building a healthier community through compassionate care.

EMS Week activities

 Richmond Ambulance Authority and Chesterfield Fire and EMS Receive American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Recognition Award

Picture 1The Richmond Ambulance Authority and Chesterfield Fire and EMS have received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients. Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for the entire year, and treat at least eight STEMI patients for the year.

Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center Earns Magnet® Recognition for Nursing Excellence

Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center has received the elite Magnet designation as part of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®. The program recognizes quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. It is the highest honor an organization can receive for professional nursing practice. Only about 7 percent of hospitals in the country achieve Magnet designation, which maintains rigorous standards and demands continuous improvement. Coupled with St. Francis’ previously awarded Pathway to Excellence® designation, the hospital is one of only three in the world to have received both designations.

Congratulations to Henrico Division of Fire for receiving the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award.

Henrico Fire New White Patch Final


RAA Medics and EMTs Honored at RFD Annual Awards Ceremony

RAA Awards PhotoRAA Medics and EMTs were honored at last week’s Richmond Fire Department (RFD) Annual Awards ceremony.

RAA crews of Medic Steve Faynor and EMT David Hilliard, and Medic Shawn Elliott and EMT Scott Cowdery were honored for their efforts. They were all presented life saving medals for RFD for their joint action alongside first responding fire crews in reviving or rescuing patients responded to by RFD’s first response units.

RFD fire fighters are all trained as EMTs and fire companies co-respond in the city, alongside RAA paramedic crews to calls deemed to be life threatening in nature.

Congratulations again to Steve, David, Shawn and Scott for delivering World-Class EMS!

The 6th Annual Central Virginia EMS Expo

EMS ExpoThe 6th Annual Central Virginia EMS Expo was held February 28 – March 1, 2015 at the Henrico Fire Training Center in western Henrico County. The EMS Expo kicked off on Saturday morning with comments from Henrico and Chesterfield counties and Bon Secours Health System officials. The keynote speech was given by Steve Wirth of Page, Wolfberg and Wirth, LLC, on EMS liabilities. Mr. Wirth, who is also a firefighter and paramedic, commented that this was the largest regionally held EMS training event that he had participated in. This year Expo had more than 500 participants from 153 agencies across Virginia and provided 65 classes for recertification hours for EMS providers, nurses, and law enforcement. Providers took classes in the latest medication administration techniques, hazardous materials incident management, safe vehicle operations, cutting edge techniques in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), advanced intervention skills and case studies, just to name a few. Participants commented that this was a great opportunity to receive high quality training hours needed for recertification without having to travel far, and at no cost to them.