Talon News - Good Local News



August 25, 2017

Dorothy Nobis

Bloomfield firefighters Tony Herrera, left, and Austin Johnson, right, and Bloomfield Fire Chief John Mohler, center, show how an extrication of a vehicle will be demonstrated at the San Juan River Fire/EMS Conference set for Bloomfield.

When Bloomfield Fire Chief John Mohler heard that the northwest region (Region 1) of Emergency Medical Services was not going to have its annual training this year in Albuquerque, he decided to host that much needed training in Bloomfield.

"New Mexico is broken into three regions for EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and Albuquerque (the host city) decided to cancel that training, scheduled for the end of July this year, I thought we should host it," Mohler said. "There is a committee who has spearheaded the conference and we have been meeting since June to plan the event."

The committee members include Greg Brown and Tony Herrera and Chief Mohler of the Bloomfield Fire Department; Laura Hensley, who is the Division Chief of EMS for the San Juan County Fire Department, and Jordan Richards.

The result is the San Juan River Fire/EMS Conference, which will be held September 21-24 in Bloomfield. The first two days of the conference (Sept. 21-22) will be a pre-conference, Mohler said, and will offer specialized training. Training will include a basic vehicle extrication class, trauma life support, fatal fires and evidence, as well as other specialized training.

Laura Hensley said the conference will help EMS professionals receive the education hours they need to ensure they remain qualified.

"The annual conferences help us obtain these mandatory hours," Hensley explained. "When Region 1 canceled its conference, Bloomfield Fire and San Juan County Fire got together and decided we needed to 'try our hand' at putting on a conference (that would) provide a portion of the mandatory hours required by the State of New Mexico."

"As we began discussing the conference, we realized we could also meet the needs of continuing education for firefighters across the Four Corners area by including fire classes as well as EMS classes," Hensley added.

"We are excited to provide this training at a local level," Hensley said. "Helping our extremely tight budgets, a local conference also saves the tax payers' money, as we do not have to pay for hotel and travel expense, while we're boosting the local economy by bringing in people from out of town who will be staying, eating and playing in our awesome communities."

Keynote speakers include Tom Aurnhammer, Fire Chief of the Los Pinos Fire Protection District in Ignacio, Colo .; and Dr. Coffee Brown.

Aurnhammer is a former Farmington Fire Department Chief and has more than 41 years of firefighting and leadership experience. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program and received his Chief Fire Officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Dr. Brown spent 10 years as an educator, spent 20 years as an emergency medicine physician in Albuquerque, and has been a medical educator for seven years. He states he considers EMS education to be a "hero school."

The pre-conference training will be held at the Bloomfield Cultural Center and the Bloomfield Fire Department, with speakers covering a variety of topics, Mohler said.

The Saturday and Sunday training will be held at Bloomfield High School, and is open to all high school students who have an interest in volunteering with one of the county's fire departments, Mohler said.

"We'd like to let high school students learn about our fire departments and the importance of volunteering," Mohler said. "These young people are the future of not only volunteer firefighting, but as Emergency Medical Service technicians and paid firefighters. We want to give them the opportunity to learn and to, hopefully, recruit them as volunteers."

"The rewards of being a firefighter are countless," said Laura Hensley. "Helping a person on the worst day of their life is gratifying, satisfying and fulfilling. We don't necessarily fight huge fires every day, but every day, we help someone."

"Bloomfield Fire and San Juan County Fire are always looking for volunteers," Hensley said. "Many of our volunteers have started with the volunteer fire department and have gone on to have very successful careers in the medical field or as a career firefighter."

Once someone is accepted as a volunteer firefighter, all of their training and education regarding fire service is paid for by the department, Hensley and Mohler said.

A volunteer will find a home in the district they join," Hensley said. "It can truly be a second family for them. Having somewhere to belong is a vital part of a young person's development. We are always looking for motivated, committed, compassionate people."

"This is a great opportunity to showcase Bloomfield," Mohler said. "The Best Western and Super 8 Motels are giving discounts for the conference, the Wooden Nickel is sponsoring a cocktail hour at the Bloomfield Cultural Center and Serious Texas B-B-Q is hosting the Saturday lunch."

The City of Bloomfield and the Bloomfield School District are also donating conference space, Mohler added.

For more information and/or to register for the conference, visit http://www.regonline.com/sanjuanriver, or call 505-632-6363.


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