Well another conference has come and gone and as usual you have made it a success. And as usual there are parts of the conference we need to address. By your reviews we had a very good conference and most enjoyed our 2013 conference in Hot Springs the birth place of the AEMTA. So I hope you accept my challenge to bring one person to conference that has never attended before, and make this a yearly EMS family reunion. From competitions, opening ceremonies, to the banquet we had a great conference and look forward to next year. We saw two very prominent Arkansas EMS providers inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame in Janie Kennedy and KC Jones. We saw the first female participant in the table of honor (Tonia Hale). We saw the birth of Dumas EMS’s child in the EMS Challenge go center stage. I hope all that attended had fun and thank those who worked the streets so others could be there.
First I feel we must remember that over 500 EMSP’s attend our conference each year, and we value everyone’s opinion. But please remember that your opinion may be the minority and that the majority will determine how the conference is presented. Now with that being said let’s talk vendor hall. When you look at the vendor hall, we need to look at how many halls are being utilized. We have access to hall’s A, B, and C, and utilized all three this year due to an increase in vendors. It takes approximately 30 vendors to fill a hall, with over 70 this year the question is how many halls to use. Using two; it is packed tight, uncomfortable, and loud. Using three; it is spacious, quiet, and looks somewhat empty. By the surveys the association is 50-50 on this, some like the space and some like it busy. Also remember that we do not limit the number of vendors or determine what they showcase as long as it is appropriate. I don’t know if there will ever be a concrete answer to the vendor hall.
I feel we must address the CEU issue as many of you commented on this. The AEMTA receives a grant each year from the ADH Section of Trauma to assist in putting on conference. This grant has been able to decrease the cost of conference to under $100; this is a savings to you the attendee of about $50. This as everything comes at a cost, the cost is that we have to have an accurate account of all that attended and critiques of all classes. The name slips and boxes worked better than the sign in sheets, but feel as if we are still operating in the 20th century. So we are looking at ways to streamline all processes using modern technology. We are accountable as is the ADH Section of EMS; Greg Brown and his staff have done a wonderful job of moving Arkansas EMS forward! The AEMTA applies to the section for all conference CEU’s, they approve or deny each course on the educational content. As many of you noticed we do not receive CEU’s for things we have in the past (Society Meetings). As an association we are divided on this issue, but as a profession we must be accountable to make sure we are getting true continuing education and not just a free CEU. It is the Section of EMS and the AEMTA’s intent and responsibility to maintain accountability and the high standards of Arkansas EMS to remain within or above national standards. As we all have done or know someone that has, the days of just showing up and signing a roster or getting a sticker without attending the core amount of education is over. And as it should be. Otherwise, we are just cheating our patients of excellent educated care.
Now finally let me address the hottest non-conference topic of conference… “The election”. First let me take responsibility for the election and do not blame my election committee. Due to multiple glitches many received multiple ballots and some did not receive any. After committee review it was determined that there was no intentional wrongdoing and that in fairness to both Presidential Candidates that a second election is warranted. You will be receiving information on the second election soon, please watch the Lifeline for more information and tell your co-workers. Again I take full responsibility for the election, and please do not blame the Board or Committees. Again your voice has been heard.
Well I hope to see you at the Arkansas EMS family reunion next year! Remember to bring a co-worker to conference that has never attended before. Your current and in-coming board and committees are already working hard for you to make next year one of the best. This year we enjoyed an excellent opening ceremony with the first AEMTA President Steve Nawojczyk and our keynote speaker was Brad Adams. Competitions were exciting and the new EMS challenge’s fun was a great hit. Great speakers like Ken Bouvier, Kip Teitsort, and Arkansas EMS Hall of Famer KC Jones, gave valuable and lifesaving information. State committees took your thoughts on issues that affect you. Next year will be even bigger and better! See you next year in the first week of August, July 30, – Aug 3, 2014!
Also, in case you missed it, be sure to watch this touching video below honoring our fallen colleagues from the last year. They are not forgotten.