During its meeting in Yaphank on Tuesday night, the Suffolk County Regional EMS Council honored 14 volunteers with the Bridgehampton Fire Department for their life-saving efforts on three separate occasions over the summer.
The Bridgehampton volunteers are credited with three “saves” by REMSCO, a governing organization that oversees EMS services, provides education and helps set policies for emergency responder units. The organization considers a “save” when a patient goes into cardiac arrest, is resuscitated either at the scene or en route, and walks out of the hospital neurologically intact.
On July 9, the Bridgehampton Fire Department responded after a man had been electrocuted while setting up the ArtHamptons event and resuscitated him. Less than a week later, on July 14, the department, along with a Southampton Village Ambulance advanced life support provider, rushed to the aid of a heart attack victim in the parking lot of La Capannina in Wainscott.
Then, on Aug. 27, Southampton Town police, the Bridgehampton Fire Department and a paid paramedic with the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance — who also happens to volunteer with Bridgehampton — saved the life of a housekeeper who had collapsed at a client’s home in Sagaponack.
Three saves in such a short period of time is a rarity, department officials said.
At Tuesday night’s recognition, volunteers across Suffolk were honored for 10 other saves in the region.
“It was a real honor,” said Gary Horsburgh, chief of the Bridgehampton Fire Department. “There were a lot of other fire departments there last night and we had 14 members honored, so it was a very special recognition.”
According to Philip Cammann, a REMSCO committee member and a paramedic who was among the honorees, the national average for saves is around 7 percent, which makes the fact that Bridgehampton volunteers had three in two months all the more remarkable.
“Being a chief and having my members do something like that is a pretty special feeling,” Horsburgh said.
Cammann, who was also recognized for the saves in Sagaponack and Wainscott, said that REMSCO Chairman Jay Gardner began the initiative in January to recognize these out-of-hospital saves. The first such ceremony was held in March, where members of the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance were honored for saving a woman’s life during the February blizzard.
Cammann credits the saves to a combination of what the American Heart Association has called the “chain of survival.”
“They’ve been pushing a chain that involves citizen CPR, early access to defibrillation, a quick response from 911, the work of EMTs, and then the follow-through at the hospital,” Cammann said. He added that the amount of medicines and therapies ambulance crews can now administer in the field also has made these saves possible.
“It’s a series of well orchestrated things that have made success so much better,” he said. “But this is unusual for Bridgehampton to have had this many saves.”
Those honored for saves included members of the town police and other outfits and are listed as follows:
July 8, 2013, Save in Bridgehampton:
AEMT Joe Loucheim, EMTs Anthea Davidson (assistant captain), Courtney Dombkowski, Nick Hemby, David Skretch, Taylor Vecsey, Second Assistant Chief Jeff White, and driver/helpers Jack Zito, Tim Doran, Zack Broadmeadow, Joe Hernandez, Carol Kalish, Elisha Osborn, as well as Southampton Police Officer Kristie Dahlen.
July 14, 2013, Save in Wainscott:
Paramedic Philip Cammann, EMT-CC Cheyne Finocchiaro (Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance and Southampton Volunteer Ambulance) and EMTs Terry Hoyt (ambulance company captain), David Skretch, Courtney Dombkowski, Samantha Dombkowski, Taylor Vecsey, Brian Lapidus; East Hampton Town Police Sgt. Peter Powers and Police Officer Arthur Scalzo; and driver/helpers Zack Broadmeadow, Harry Halsey, Gary Horsburgh, and Garrett Lowe.
August 27, 2013, in Sagaponack:
Paramedic Philip Cammann (working for Southampton Volunteer Ambulance a the time) and EMTs Jeff White (Second Assistant Chief), Nick Hemby, Taylor Vecsey, and John O’Brien; drivers/helper Mark Balsarus and Jack Zito; and Southampton Police Officers Richard Spera and Theodore Jasinski.
Pictured, standing from left — Chief Gary Horsburgh, Courtney Dombkowski, Mark Balserus, Cheyne Finocchiaro, Joe Loucheim, Anthea Davidson, Jeff White, Terry Hoyt, Harry Halsey, Nick Hemby, David Skretch, and in front, from left, Taylor K. Vecsey and Samantha Dombkowski.