Washakie County Ambulance Service Director earns Rising Star Award
September 5, 2019
WORLAND – Washakie County Ambulance Service Director Luke Sypherd was recently honored with the Rising Star Award, and was one of five recipients throughout the state to receive the award from the Wyoming Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS).
The ceremony for the award did happen from August 14 through 17, but Sypherd was unable to attend as he wanted to stay home with his wife, in anticipation of the birth of his first child.
According to a press release from the OEMS, this award is given to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their communities and the state throughout the last year. Luke was particularly recognized this last year for his part in founding the Wyoming Emergency Medical Services Association and serving as the president of the association.
"It was an absolute honor to receive this award," Sypherd said.
Sypherd has earned a bachelor's degree in Paramedicine, and a master's in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and moved to Worland in May of 2018. Earning this award just over one year after moving to Washakie County was no small feat for Sypherd.
Another reason that Sypherd was chosen for the award, was for his submission of an application to an independent company for an EMS Needs Assessment to be done in Washakie County, which Sypherd said would be occurring in either October or November.
"My primary job is to help Washakie County, and ensure that we have excellent services at all times," Sypherd said. "Part of the way to improve our system, is to improve the overall state system."
Sypherd said this in relation to why he helped found the state EMS association, and how he plans to help the Washakie County area in the future.
Sypherd said that there are 20 EMTs on staff to help serve Washakie County, it is difficult to figure out how to keep the services available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Another thing that has been difficult to find for the group is funding. The EMT services run entirely off of revenue, which comes from transfer services, and responding to emergencies.
One form of relief for the staff is the availability of grants and funding for equipment, which can help relieve the pressure of all of the operating costs being taken from the revenue. This allows them to be able to pay the EMTs that work for Washakie County.
One of the important aspects of the Washakie County EMS is that they are all Nationally Registered Paramedics. This is a standard that must be taken in the same regards as a nationally certified teacher, and is one of the highest standards for an EMT.
Even though certain services like a police force are required, EMT services are not required by the state of Wyoming. Needs assessments are being done throughout the state of Wyoming, as it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that these services are still provided to each Wyoming citizen.
With each of these assessments being done, each county is communicating and helping each other along the way while also getting their own assessments done in order to make sure that each EMS is able to remain in business to help keep each county's emergency services running.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find and maintain an EMS license, so it is more important than ever for counties to find volunteer EMTs that can pass the exams, and that is what the needs assessments will look at and address in the coming months.