March 14, 2006

EMS Combat Challenge looks for emergency providers

Emergency medical personnel from all over Middle Tennessee will compete in a first-ever “combat challenge” to be held on April 22 at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill, Tenn.

Emergency medical personnel from all over Middle Tennessee will compete in a first-ever “combat challenge” to be held on April 22 at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill, Tenn.

The event, presented by the South Central Emergency Medical Services Directors Association (SCEMSD) and sponsored by Vanderbilt LifeFlight and Select-Tech of Shelbyville, Tenn., will pit emergency medical technicians, paramedics, first responders and emergency nurses against each other as they compete in challenge courses utilizing their emergency training and skill.

Individuals and teams will compete for awards and cash prizes valued from $50 up to $350.

“We are very excited to be offering this all-day event,” said Jeanne Yeatman, president of SCEMSD and director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s LifeFlight helicopter program. “Individual and team courses are available, with each course including three physical obstacles and three EMS skills. These are timed events and the participant must successfully complete each EMS skill before moving to the next obstacle.”

Chad Graham, director of EMS for Bedford County, Tenn., pioneered the idea of hosting a local EMS Challenge after seeing the concept developed in other states. Graham, who is also on the board of directors with SCEMSD, said he also wanted to incorporate family stations into the event, so that EMS providers and their families could enjoy a day together.

“It will be a great learning event, and we’ll have simple stunts with an EMS flare available for EMS participants and friends or family members to enjoy,” Graham said. “A prize valued at $50 will be awarded at the end of the day to the individuals with the fastest time at each booth.”

EMS vendors and static displays of aircraft and other emergency equipment will be available, and a family/children activities area will be provided by the Park Services. A free Friday night fun event will be held at the park and discount rooms rates are available at the park hotel.

The highlight of the day is a challenge event fashioned after the popular TV show “Fear Factor.” This event will involve physical activity, eating “something,” and a water component. Because participation in this event is limited, names will be randomly drawn from those who meet the qualifications to participate. The winner will receive an award and cash prize of $350.

Graham said EMS providers would be able to receive continuing education credits for the event. First responders are eligible for three contact hours. EMT, Paramedic and EMS RNs are eligible for five contact hours.

“Each level of provider will be given a set of EMS-related questions to complete,” he said. “The answers will be on color coded cards placed at different locations throughout the event. All questions must be answered correctly to receive credit.”

The event will begin at 9 a.m. Registration fees are $45 for first responders and $55 for all other providers. There is a $10 discount for early registration received by April 10. Friends and family members wishing to participate in the stunt booths will be required to purchase an armband for $10. The first 150 people to register will receive an official EMS Challenge T-Shirt.

Participation in the event is limited, and Graham said he expected the limited spaces to fill up fast.

“We can’t handle much more than 125 or so participants on the obstacle course, and we think interest will be high for that event, so we are encouraging everyone to pre-register,” Graham said.