CARLSBAD — Carlsbad Fire Chief Kevin Crawford accepted the 2011 Health Care Champion Award from the San Diego Business Journal at a Paradise Point Resort reception last month in San Diego.
The award punctuated what is considered the city’s sterling approach to its novel health care methods and excellent service to its community members.
A panel of professionals in the health care industry made the decision on whom to bestow the award.
“The fact that one of the colleagues that we work with, and in this case it was Scripps Hospital, thought to nominate us was something that left our members very, very proud,” Crawford said. “And to be selected was humbling, exciting and thrilling all wrapped up into one.”
The Carlsbad Fire Department transports a large number of patients to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas as well as to the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside.
Crawford said the recognition definitely boosted the morale in the department. It meant a great deal, he said, that someone on the outside noticed their service in such a special way.
“It’s an acknowledgement that somebody is recognizing the time and effort that we are putting into patient care,” he said, adding that the administration side of their emergency medical services creates more precision.
When it comes to describing the Carlsbad Fire Department, Crawford said, the first word that comes to his mind is professionalism. “I am blessed to work with the most talented and most dedicated professionals; they’re passionate about what they do and they’re passionate about doing it at the highest level possible,” he said.
Crawford said this accolade should be something the residents of Carlsbad are proud of, too. Crawford said citizens should feel a great deal of comfort that knowing their fire department was worthy of this award.
The award also underscored that the Carlsbad Fire Department was the first agency to offer paramedic services and place emergency staff members inside the trucks. To date, 90 percent of its fire department are certified paramedics.
The department also implemented data transmission technology into its emergency medical services, increasing accuracy and efficiency.
“Carlsbad Fire Department was the first in the North County to collect and transmit field patient data to the hospital utilizing smart phones,” said Linda Allington, emergency medical services manager at the Carlsbad Fire Department.
Another recognized feature that attracted the panel was the boundary drop system. Allington said Crawford was at the forefront of this project, which was introduced a few years ago.
Crawford pointed out that, for example, if an incident were to occur on the border of Oceanside and Carlsbad, the department that responds would be the closest and the one that would have the most appropriate apparatus on the scene despite the jurisdiction.
“Historically, it did not happen that way,” he said, adding that the boundary drop system concept has now spread throughout North County.
Another area where the department was said to shine was customer service. Allington called it a part of their culture and said that all their employees are trained in this area.
While the Carlsbad Fire Department celebrated the success of its award, Allington said they have an eye to the future.
“We must continue to challenge ourselves to see if there is a better way to do things,” she said. “We must continue our high level of customer service and provide the three things people expect: to get there quickly, to be highly technically competent and to be nice.”