Richmond, Va. –
National Emergency Medical Technician Week will be celebrated May 16 – 22. This year’s theme is “This Is EMS: Caring for Our Communities.” According to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians website, in 1974 President Gerald Ford authorized Emergency Medical Services Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities. Back then, EMS was a new profession and practitioners had only just started to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net. EMS is now firmly established as an essential public function and a vital component of the medical care continuum.
EMS practitioners care for their patients' medical needs and show caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments. As part of National EMS Week, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and DLA Installation Management Richmond are spotlighting an emergency medical technician at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, to honor their dedication in providing day-to-day lifesaving services on medicine's "front line.”
Name: Paul Owens
Organization: DLA Installation Operations Security and Emergency Services Division, Fire and Emergency Services Branch
Years of service: 16 years of service in the Fire and EMS field
What is your job, specifically? Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, Hazmat Technician
Why did you decide to go into a public service career? I was working in a machine shop and I looked around and saw that if I stayed where I was, I was going to do the same job in the same building my whole career. I decided that a career as a firefighter would be physically and mentally challenging and every day would be different.
What makes for a great day on the job? When we get to put all our skills and training into action on a call and make a difference, and the crew goes home safely when the shift is over.
What is your favorite work activity? Any hands-on training or real-world calls with firefighting or technical rescue
What is your greatest achievement on the job? While riding in the fire engine we witnessed a bicycle rider fall off his bike. We turned the fire engine around to check on the bicycle rider and found him unresponsive and in cardiac arrest. Within minutes of him going into cardiac arrest and falling off his bicycle, we had the defibrillation pads on him, and the first round of shocks delivered. I was able to continue care for him by riding with the medic crew before turning him over to the hospital staff. He walked out of the hospital with no loss of heart function a few days later. Once he was well enough to leave his house, he came to the station to thank us!
Did you have any mentors during your career? If so, how did they help you? Yes. They saw things in me that I did not see in myself, and they gave me the motivation and encouragement to excel.
What would you say to encourage someone to go into public service? It is a very demanding career on both you and your family, it will require a lot of time away from your friends and family. However, the rewards of this career will far out weight any of the demands it will require.
Do you do any volunteer work in the community? If so, what? Currently I do not. In January of this year, I started a paramedic class that is requiring almost all my time-off duty.
What are you usually doing when not at work? Spending time with my wife and two sons, fishing, construction work, yardwork and any outdoor activity.
How do you define excellence? When you can reflect on something and know you did your best and gave the task everything you had regardless of the outcome.
How do you define happiness? Finding enjoyment in something and having a positive outlook regardless of the circumstances around you.