The conference began through an employee education association within the Washington County/Johnson City EMS, but has grown into a three-day conference that is self-supporting.
“We were wanting an educational experience that ... we didn’t have to travel to, and gradually it’s grown to where it supports itself,” said one of the EMS organizers, Fred Kemp, an EMT with Washington County/Johnson City EMS, as well as a rescue instructor.
“We bring in speakers who have new and up-to-date topics. We had a doctor from Watauga Orthopedics talking about sideline injuries, talking about broken bones, talking about concussions,” he said. It’s especially important this time of year because it’s football season.
Like many professions, EMS personnel are required to complete continuing education learning throughout the year, and this conference gives them a total of eight hours for each day of the meetings.
On Friday, an instructor from Florida will do a presentation on hurricane response, which is also relevant right now given that Hurricane Florence is pounding the East Coast and expected to drop several inches of rain in the Tri-Cities.
Part of the conference also provided attendees with updated information about pediatric emergencies. Kemp said children are only five percent of the patients EMS handles, so informational sessions at a conference like this are helpful to refresh responders on certain techniques.
Kemp said high school students from David Crockett and Daniel Boone who are in the Health Occupations classes were also at the conference to give them an opportunity to “intermingle with people who do the job and be encourage to be the next generations,” he said.
The conference is also a way for emergency responders to see the latest developments in medical equipment and tools from various vendors who attend the event.
Friday is the last day of the conference and includes topics such as hurricane response, terrorism, orthopedics, hand injuries and explosives.