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Paramedics prove again they’re best in the state

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By The Staff

A school shooting is a situation you hope will never occur, but if it does, county emergency response officials recently proved they’re capable of handling the daunting task.

Lancaster County paramedics Kelly Snipes and Greg Robinson with the county’s Emergency Medical Services recently captured first place in the 2008 statewide competition in Myrtle Beach.

The competition involved the pair responding to a staged school shooting with a person already killed at the mock scene. To keep the situation as close to real as possible, real people were used as victims at the scene.

The paramedic teams are required to provide the proper care, which includes CPR, heart stabilization and various intravenous treatments.

“The simulations were pretty close to what you expect,” said Robinson, a 24-year EMS veteran who has competed in the state finals 10 times. “You could fool somebody who didn’t know better.”

Some of the pretend victims actually had dilated pupils.

Each team had 15 minutes to complete the exercise. Robinson said the Lancaster County team was the only team to perform triage – setting priorities in a emergency response situation – when it reached the scene.

As with a real response, the emergency personnel has to decide which victims can move on their own or are in need of assistance.

Lancaster County, which is in the Midlands region, was one of seven two-person teams to compete in the state field after capturing the regional title and the chance to compete for state honors.

The county’s victory reflected a sterling tradition of excellence in the EMS field. Lancaster County has compiled three wins in the last four years.

Robinson has four crowns, while Snipes captured his first win.

Lancaster County’s EMS staff includes 35 full-time personnel and is confident it could prevail no matter which staff member was sent to compete for state laurels.

“We have outstanding medics here, and Greg and Kelly are two of them,” Lancaster County EMS Director Lanny Bernard said. “Knowing they’re part of a system that turns out great paramedics, it’s a morale booster for everybody.”

An emergency situation is one you hope you never have to endure, but you at least you know the state’s best is ready to provide high-quality service.

We hail their commitment to excellence to be the best if and when a bad situation occurs.