Four Alaska Fire Service employees lauded for life-saving programs and deeds

[Boise, Idaho] – Four Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service ( BLM AFS) employees received national 2019 Wildland Fire Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Awards from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group Oct. 5 for their significant contributions to the wildland fire community’s safety.

The group’s Emergency Medical Committee annually recognizes individual and team actions or accomplishments that extend beyond normal job expectations. This year’s awards recognize 11 individuals and one team nationwide.

Smiling man in living room
Jon Thomas

Jon Thomas, the Alaska Fire Medic Program Coordinator since the early 1990s, received the Outstanding Wildland Fire EMS Distinguished Service Award.

The committee said the basis for Thomas’ award was: “Under his leadership, the program mobilized, outfitted, and supported an unprecedented number of medics during 2019, often in remote locations with critical needs for immediate, professional emergency medicine. This exemplary support of firefighting services during a busy season kept people safe and delivered the care they needed throughout the state of Alaska.”

AFS helicopter managers Brian Deck and Nathan Gilmore, as well as Galena Zone unit aviation manager Bob Schober were among a crew of nine receiving the Award of Excellence in Wildland Fire EMS for its response to a fatal helicopter crash in Texas last year.

“While conducting a prescribed fire near Huntsville, Texas, this module of firefighters from the Great Basin Smokejumpers and the Alaska Fire Service responded to a helicopter crash. Their assistance with patient assessment, communications, fire suppression, and more demonstrated exemplary service exceeding the normal duties of wildland firefighters,” the committee said about the award.

The bureau’s Wyoming Operations and Training Officer Zachary Hartshorn received the Outstanding Wildland Fire EMS Individual of the Year Award for his passion and dedication “…training EMTs, coordinating with the medical director, updating protocols, and reviewing patient contracts…,” according to the committee.  

Montana BLM’s Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Fire Crew received the Outstanding Wildland Fire EMS Crew of the Year Award, citing its “quick actions and initiative” for responding to vehicle accident near a wildland fire that “…prevented further injury to victims and bystanders while also limiting additional wildland fire spreading from the scene.”

More information about the awards program and a link to the nomination form can be found on the NWCG EMC webpage.


Categories: AK Fire Info

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