Every five years, the Washington County EMS department maps out a strategy for the next five years. As the calendar page turns to 2019, it is more than halfway through its strategic planning period.

Last year, EMS Director Kevin Deramus announced the department has accomplished more than 80 percent of the strategic plan in just the first three years.

According to Deramus, enormous strides have been made toward the goals for providing the best comprehensive EMS system using the absolute, most efficient model.

The strategic placement of paramedics into their super rural districts such as Burton and Chappell Hill (and very close to deployment into Washington), has proved to not only be lifesaving, but also the most efficient model of EMS in its nearly 40-year history, he said. The cardiac arrest survival rate is at an all-time high, soaring more than three times higher than the national average and one of the highest in the state of Texas.

“Statistics should be used in many things we do to drive our direction, but there’s no substitute for seeing a cardiac arrest survivor in H-E-B buying groceries, and I’m seeing this more than I ever have in my career,” Deramus said.

The director believes we are living in a time when culture is more interested in quick, fast and dramatic information than the truth. “Never before has there been a time in my public safety career that I can remember the ‘comments’ to the story are read before the actual story,” he said.

“These communities are becoming fixed on the potential for confrontation rather than the actual story or the good news. There are so many experts on social media and so little trust given to the leaders of the community and public safety,” he said. “This causes an enormous concern for public safety chiefs because their decisions have enormous consequences and are often not easy ones.”

Deramus appreciates the community’s leadership, commitment and willingness to lead in such an uncommon time — to get into the trenches of local government and keep Washington County a safe and prosperous community.

He believes that with continued vision, relationships and support, EMS are just scratching the surface of the future of the department.

“I tell people all the time that I have the best job in the world and work with the most talented paramedics that I’ve ever seen,” Deramus said. “It’s truly an honor to be a part of such a committed group of individuals.”

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