Tipping our hats

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Anybody who has ever had a reason to watch the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue at work will have quickly come to the realization that the folks within that organization represent some of the city’s finest, most professional employees.

Whether they’re fighting an active structure fire, extricating a victim from a vehicle at the scene of an accident, providing life support in an ambulance or just conducting a fire inspection of an old business downtown, the personnel who comprise the fire and rescue operation are polite, efficient and compassionate. Those are especially important traits for folks whose interaction with the public often comes at the very worst times.

The department recently was honored for its level of service by a regional emergency services group that recognized the professionalism with which most folks in Suffolk were already familiar.


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The Tidewater Emergency Services Council presented the organization with the Outstanding Emergency Medical Services Award for a high level of patient care that stems from training programs, community awareness programs, preventive health programs and participation in local, regional and statewide EMS systems.

Dr. Phillip G. Leavy, the department’s operational medical director since 2009, also won the Operation EMS Physician Award. Under his leadership, several life-saving initiatives have been implemented. Leavy has also inspired many providers to obtain their Advanced Life Support certifications to enhance the department’s capabilities and improve service delivery to the Tidewater region.

Suffolk Firefighter/Medic Rainey Owen also received an honorable mention in the Outstanding EMS Instructor Award category.

Folks in Suffolk can rest easier knowing that the city has such fine people on the job to provide emergency care and assistance. We tip our hats to the department and to the individual award winners.