Four local residents were recently honored as King County Emergency Medical Dispatchers of the Year for their outstanding contributions to the public's health and safety. As part of King County's world-class Emergency Medical Services/Medic One system, emergency medical dispatchers protect the public's health and safety everyday with critical medical advice to callers and by making quick decisions about the best emergency medical care.

The awards recognize overall excellence and expert response to critical incidents, and they are given annually by Public Health - Seattle & King County's Emergency Medical Services Division during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 10-16, 2011.

"Our emergency medical dispatchers are the lifeline for thousands of callers who each year dial 911 for help," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "The four being honored this year deserve our deepest thanks and appreciation for their skill and commitment."

This year's award winners (below) include Alison Barlow of Tacoma and Melissa Johnson of Puyallup from Valley Communications Center in Kent. Also receiving awards were Roky Louie of Tukwila and Josh Baker of Everett from Norcom Communications Center in Bellevue.
"Emergency medical dispatchers play a critically important role as they evaluate patient signs and symptoms and provide life-saving instructions to bystanders over the telephone. They are an essential link in our emergency medical care system and a big reason why our survival rates from cardiac arrest are among the world's best," said Dr. Mickey Eisenberg, Medical Director for King County Emergency Medical Services Division of Public Health.

Valley Communications provides police, fire and medical dispatching in south King County, managing approximately 61,000 emergency medical calls in 2010. North East King County Regional Public Safety Communications Agency (NORCOM) provides police, fire and medical dispatching in the east and north regions of King County, managing approximately 45,000 emergency calls for medical assistance in 2010
Ms. Barlow and Mr. Louie both received the award for sustained exemplary performance throughout the year. Ms. Johnson and Mr. Baker both received their awards for exemplary handling of a critical Emergency Medical Services incident. Ms. Johnson received her award for her quick action in response to a baby that was not breathing, and Mr. Baker was honored for his ability to quickly begin CPR instructions and provide reassurance to the caller.
Dr. Mickey Eisenberg
Alison Barlow (left) receives her award for SUSTAINED PERFORMANCE from Cleo Subido of King County EMS.

Vonnie Mayer, ValleyCom team supervisor said "Alison is a "global thinker" and embodies a healthy perspective of balancing the patient's needs with our county's resource needs. "

Excerpt from Award:
"As an instructor/trainer she instills the importance of the CBD guidelines and the responsible management and application of the CBD program. Alison's focus is patient care; providing the best service possible to the patient as well our responding customers. She has a good working knowledge of the overall EMS system and works very hard to be a positive role in the EMS community"
Melissa Johnson (left) receives her award for HANDLING OF A CRITICAL INCIDENT from Cleo Subido of King County EMS.

Vonnie Mayer commented
"Melissa's tone was reassuring from the beginning of the call and remained that way for the entire incident."

Excerpt from Award:
"Melissa was able to get an adult on the phone and immediately started CPR instructions. Understandably this was a very difficult call for all parties involved and Melissa's control and professional demeanor set the right tone from the moment she began her instructions. Melissa's delivery of the CBD emergency CPR instructions remained in adherence of the CBD pre-arrival protocol"