NEW PARIS — Longtime Northwest Fire and Ambulance District Chief Brian Simpson has decide it is time to move on after 17 years as NWFAD chief.
Simpson has 29 1/2 years of firefighting experience. He has turned the reins over to Assistant NWFAD Chief Paul Cones, who has 30 years experience as a fireman with the district.
According to district officials, Simpson was the fire chief when the district was organized by combining the emergency medical service department with the fire department. He was appointed district chief over both operations.
In a recent press release, NWFAD trustee Ralph Douglas said Simpson has been instrumental in many district improvements during his tenure as district chief, including providing medical service more safely and quickly to those injured at school events; the community’s Fourth of July function; Apple Fest; parades and other events where it is almost impossible for an ambulance to access a scene. According to Douglas, Simpson presented the district trustees with a program by which to solve this situation.
“With the approval of the district trustees and his effort to get donations from the community, the district purchased an ambulette which carries a driver and a patient to a second EMT to provide medical attention while being transferred to a standby ambulance,” Douglas said.
“He was instrumental in a program to purchase a new 2014 ambulance to replace a 1994 unit that was outdated and showing much wear,” Douglas explained. “Brian also made a case to replace the 1979 Dodge grass truck with a 2013 Ford super duty grass truck. It was ‘spec’d’ out by the District Fire Division to save money.”
According to Douglas, to improve quality patient care, Simpson implemented a plan to put EMTs and paramedics on station full time as part-time employees through the week. “Since this organizational change in October 2014, responses to medical emergencies have been improved by a average of three to five minutes per call,” Douglas said. “Prior to this change, volunteers would respond to calls from their homes, experiencing delays with traffics and/or weather issues. At present we have a fully staffed station Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.”
Douglas reported, Simpson was instrumental in replacing all the firemen’s old firefighting gear with new modern gear which is “safer and much appreciated by the firemen.”
The last item on Simpson’s “to-do” list, according to Douglas, was to get a first responder service/command vehicle to respond to calls of a medical emergency prior to the arrival of an ambulance or to fire scene to assess the situation before the fire company arrives. A Ford 2016 Explorer was purchased for this service, Douglas noted.
Upon approval by the NWFAD Trustee Board, newly appointed Chief Cones announced the following personnel to fill his staff: Brad Simpson, assistant district chief; Tyler Jordan, captain and Donna Sheppard, captain.
At the NWFAD’s recent annual awards dinner, Chief Simpson and Clerk Carol McDermitt (also retiring from her position) were recognized for their “excellence and outstanding service.” Simpson was awarded a shadow box containing his “helmet front,” badge, service bars, and an American flag.
Also presented to Brian Simpson was the distinguished service medal for his years of leadership and service.
McDermitt was presented with a letter of appreciation for her eight years of service and a certificate for outstanding dedication and service as NWFAD clerk/fiscal officer.
Cindy Messick of New Paris was chosen to replace McDermitt effective immediately.
Several members were recognized and awarded certificates and/or badges for advancement in the EMS and Fire Service. These were presented by Cones and Assistant District Chief Brad Simpson.
“Years of Service Awards” were presented to Jami Sheppard, 5 years; Tyler Jordan, 5 years; Brett Marker, 5 years; Brad Simpson, 10 years; Cones, 30 years; Rick Lewis, 30 years.
New certifications and/or level advancement awards were presented to Carley Brewster, volunteer firefighter and advanced EMT; Matthew Brewster, firefighter level one; Matthias Bowser, firefighter level one; Renee Simmons, firefighter level two; Jordan, EMT; Jessica Hines, EMT/Paramedic.
Firefighter and EMS of the year awards, presented for those providing “exceptional duty and service,” were presented to Dale Gibbs, firefighter of the year and Hines, EMS of the year.
The Northwest Fire and Ambulance District thanks all its past and current members for the time they sacrificed and the “excellent effort they put forward each and every hour to serve our community.”