Early History, Structure, and Transport Destination of BIEMS

Early History of BIEMS, Structure, and Transport Destination
By Joe Moore


The following information comes from a PowerPoint presentation presented to the public on April 13, 2005.


Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services is an independent agency governed by its bylaws, functioning under the Emergency Services Authority, and its contractual agreements with St. James and Peaine Townships.  BIEMS is supported by billing patients, by millage levied in St. James township (1 mill), and General funds from Peaine township. (Approximately .75 mills of taxes).  From the beginning of BIEMS, BIEMS and the medical center have had a close and cooperative working relationship.


Dr. Joseph Christie and both townships determined need for pre-hospital transportation with purchase of old Red Cross ambulance and twin engine aircraft between 1975 & 1979. Both old ambulance and aircraft were gone (off-island) before the beginning of training for the EMS personnel .


Michael F. McGinnity re-established the need for prehospital transportation and initiated the first Basic EMT class in 1985.  The first Basic EMT class was taught by Lifelink, Inc. instructors from Petoskey under the direction of John LaMont.  The students in the first class were:   Ruth Gregg, Perry and Sandy Fortier, Roger Laars, Mike McGinnity, John and Joyce Runberg, and Bill McDonough (1985).  The first ambulance came from Mackinaw City, and this was stocked using supplies from the medical center.  Quite a few of the successful students from the first class left the Island, so a second class was taught the following year.
The second class, the following year of 1986 included Neil and Connie Boyle, Bill Markey, Ruth Gregg, Jim Hibbler, Mary Delamater, Jerry Sowa, and Joe Moore.  Neil and Connie Boyle (President and Treasurer), Joyce Runberg(Secretary), and Bill Markey (Vice President) were the first officers in the new and officially  formed BIEMS and Rescue formed in May 1987.


Beaver Island EMS was formed and had two divisions:  Land Rescue and Water Rescue.  Neil Boyle headed the land division.(1987).  Alan Muma headed the water division and captained the rescue boat (1987).  BIEMS agrees on a  “Islands of Safety” motto.


Later in October of 1987, Bill Markey became acting president, and the very first On-Call list was published.  BIEMS went through some serious fund raising and growing pains due to political issues on the island not involving EMS.  As the EMS providers learned that they needed more training, President Jerry Sowa was elected in July 1988. 


After cajoling and begging an EMT-Specialist class was scheduled.  In April of 1989 the course was completed by Joe Moore, Bill Markey, and Mike McGinnity.  At the same time, Joe Moore went off island to take an Instructor Coordinator, EMS instructor program.   Joe Moore completed the EMT Instructor Coordinator program in April 1989.  While the others were taking just the Specialist exam, Joe had to take the Basic EMT exam again to demonstrate competence, then take the EMT-Specialist exam, and then take the Instructor exam.  This was all completed on one afternoon on Beaver Island.


Our EMS providers were not happy because they were not in a position to help the most common emergency patients with the highest standard of care possible.  With a great deal of effort and more research, our BIEMS providers designed a special study that allowed BI EMT-Specialists to do:

    1. Automatic External Defibrillation
    2. Start Intravenous Fluids
    3. Endotracheal Intubation

BIEMS was unable to participate without needed equipment in October 1989.    A group of island people put together a fundraising effort concluding in May 1990 for purchase of an Auto External Defibrillator that was provided by  “Hundred with a Heart” fundraising.  One hundred individuals contributed one hundred dollar each to raise $10,000 to purchase all training materials and pay for training in addition to the AED.
What was "Hundred with a Heart" and who were the organizers of it?


Jerry Charbeneau, Jerry Sowa, and Tom Dorais were the organizers of the Hundred with a Heart campaign. Tom Dorais had had a serious cardiac emergency and was successfully resuscitated because of the availability of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). These three men decided that Beaver Island needed to have one of these. The plan was to get one hundred people to donate one hundred dollars each to raise a total of $10,000 enough to purchase one AED and all of the training equipment necessary to get the members of BIEMS up to speed on how to use this vital equipment. The Hundred with a Heart campaign was sponsored by the Beaver Island Medical Center, which is now the Beaver Island Rural Health Center. There is a plaque in the BIRHC education room commemorating those pioneers and the donors who put in such a valiant effort to move BIEMS into the forefront of cardiac resuscitation. The AED has been successfully used many times on Beaver Island since the success of the campaign. All of the links of the American Heart Association (Early Access to the 911 system, Early CPR, Early Defibrillation, and Early Advanced Care) are in place on Beaver Island since this campaign started. There has been one recorded "Save" due to the BIEMS AED, and the Island should be thankful for all those pioneers who helped make this a reality.


Bill Markey dug the footings for the emergency services repeater tower on the King’s Highway at the location of the old Peaine Township Hall.  The tower was up and working in August of 1990.  Communications capability improved with this repeater tower with almost two-thirds of the island allowing communication back to the repeater tower.  If units were out of range of the repeater tower, the local frequency could be used to communicate from one unit to another using the frequency named the “talk around” frequency.


After a rescue boat response, the engine of the boat got damaged.  The water division was brought into discussion. and the rescue boat was turned over to the fire department in October 1002.  The damage to the rescue boat motor cost $725.00.  After very little use in 1992, it was determined to raffle off the rescue boat and to use the money to promote water safety.  This raffle was begun in June of 1992.
A partnership between the medical center and fundraising efforts all the building of the ambulance garage, and shortly thereafter Bill Markey built “OSHA clean room.”  These  are good examples of partnerships formed with the Beaver Island Medical Center Board.  Originally, BIEMS paid $50 per month for electricity to the BI Rural Health Center.  BIEMS now (2005) pays $2400 per year to rent space in the Governmental Center and $4000 per year for East Side Fire Department.


In 2005, BIEMS members volunteer their time for services in the community for 9 months of the year.  The summer months require payment for EMS members to be on-call.  Currently (2005) this is less than $5.00 per hour.  All continuing education hours are volunteered by the participants and the instructor.  Members are trained in water rescue, ice rescue, as well as search and rescue.


The requirements for licensing in 2005 were:  medical first responder, 90 hours plus Professional CPR;  Basic EMT, 200 hours of training including Professional CPR, Auto Defibrillator training, Advanced Airway training, and Epinephrine pen injection;  EMT-Specialist, 300+ hours of training including endotracheal intubation and Intravenous fluid administration.


An EMT and EMT-Specialist are required 10 hours average of continuing education each year for three years and a paramedic needs an average of 16 hours each year for three years.  The MFR only needs five hours each year for three years to renew. 


In 2005, meeting attendance was required monthly for skill maintenance, new equipment orientation, and special needs instruction which is approximately 20-25 hours per year for members and a little over twice that for the Board of Directors.


All Classroom Training has taken place right here on Beaver island.  MFR, EMT,  EMT-S, and Paramedic training have been provided on Beaver Island.  As of July 1, 1999, only MFR and EMT training can take place here.  Joe Moore, EMT Instructor, can provide these two classes and continuing education classes.  Future EMT-S and Paramedic training will have to be associated with a two year college program and a hospital due to new legislation in the works in 2005.


Thanks go to the Beaver Island Fire Department Auxiliary for their donations and their help in accomplishing our EMS goals.   Thanks go to the entire community for the financial support.  Early fundraising efforts were well supported.  Current funding in 2005 is well supported also.


Charlevoix County Medical Control Authority provides treatment Protocols for BIEMS.  Charlevoix County has joined over 33 other counties in adopting the exact same treatment protocols which means same exact treatment in all 33 counties including Beaver Island.  State of Michigan Protocols cover all levels of treatment from MFR through Paramedic and include instructions for intervening care providers.
In 2005, the next steps in improvement of prehospital care on Beaver Island include a 2000 Paramedic Class completed with five students:  Joe Moore, Bev Russell, Mike Russell, Bob Hamil, and Karl Kiss.  The program took over 3000 volunteer hours.  The off Island requirements included 150 hours of hospital training and over 100 hours of Advanced Ambulance training.


In 2005, the Chairperson was Gerald LaFreniere, the Treasurer was Cindy Cushman, the Secretary was  Karen Whitecraft, and the  Vice Chairperson was  Ken Bruland.  Joe Moore was the education officer.
The vehicle used in 2005 were a 1985 Ford Type III ambulance acquired from East Jordan EMS in 1995 and a 1997 Ford Type III ambulance with new chasis and remounted box.


How was the transport destination determined in 2005? Transport destination was based upon the seriousness of illness or injury through CCMCA protocols.  Any life threatening illness or injury categorized as a Priority One ( i.e.  Brain Attack, Heart Attack, Pulseless Limb, Respiratory Problem, Difficulty Breathing) required transport to the nearest hospital by time.  All other non-life threatening injuries or illnesses required transport to the hospital of patient or family choice.  If the US Coast Guard helicopter was needed due to lack of other method of transport, the decision of destination was based upon the pilot’s choice.
BIEMS Personnel function under  the license authority of Charlevoix County Medical Control Authority.


Dr. M. Carey is the Medical Control Physician Director.  The Charlevoix Area Hospital Emergency Room is location of BIEMS Medical Control radio contact.  In 2005, the transport destination must be approved through Charlevoix Area Hospital ER unless protocols demand a different destination.    Intervening physicians must get permission from Medical Control to take over medical care of any patient from EMS.


All patients have rights.  Every patient has a right to refuse some or all treatments offered by BIEMS.  Every patient has a right to refuse transport by BIEMS.  Living wills and family preference have no authority in the prehospital environment without written documentation that includes doctor’s written orders, signed by the doctor.  Do Not Resuscitate orders and advanced directives must be signed by a doctor.


When 911 is activated, Emergency prehospital providers including Medical First Responders and Emergency Medical Technicians are operating under the authority of the doctor’s orders from Charlevoix Medical Control Authority.   An intervening provider (doctor, etc.) needs to gain permission from Charlevoix Medical Control Authority to take over treatment of the patient.  An EMT or Medical First Responder must follow written protocols unless superceded by a written Advanced Directive that is signed by a doctor.  (Example,  Do Not Resuscitate Order for a terminally ill patient)


A Critical Stress Debriefing Team was established in 2005.  It was available on Beaver Island for all disasters and emergency occurrences.  Team Members 2005 were:  Kitty McNamara, Donna Stambaugh, Judi Meister, Don Meister, Sue Solle, and Beth Croswhite.


The licensed personnel in 2005 were paramedic Joe Moore and visiting paramedics; EMT-Specialists Gerald LaFreniere and Ken Bruland;  EMT Basics Cindy Cushman and Karen Whitecraft; and  Medical First Responders Jim Stambaugh, Joe Timsak, and Tim McDonough. 


There were five EMT students in the adult class in 2005:  Adam Wirth, Sarah McCafferty, Christie Albin, Dawn Traficante, and Donna Kubic.  In 2005 there were also six high school students enrolled in the EMT class at school during the regular school day.  Unfortunately, they were all too young to license.  These were excellent students:   Emily Gray, John Albin, Jimmy Gillespie, Krystle Timsak, Christine McDonough, and Melissa Bailey.


Beaver Island EMS thanks all Beaver Islanders and all visitors for the unending support. Thank you for your financial support.  Thank you for your moral support.


In 2005, we will continue to be available when you need emergency medical treatment and/or emergency transport.