At 12:00 PM on January 14, 2024, Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) transitioned into purple status operations. This decision was made in anticipation of the upcoming winter weather, which was expected to have a great impact on the service area.
Purple status is initiated in several circumstances, most often during significant weather events such as snow and ice, enacting policies that ensure the response system is staffed to respond to an influx of calls that may develop due to unfavorable conditions.
Media Contact: Aaron Gilkey
Two MEMS Employees Receive Prestigious Award
Photos available here
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Nov. 7, 2023) – Two Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) employees have received the American Ambulance Association’s “Stars of Life” nomination. Stars of Life honors the contributions of these heroes while shining light on the critical role EMS plays in our healthcare infrastructure.
Paramedic and Field Training Officer Garrett Whisenhunt and Paramedic Chris Workman were recognized for their contributions as ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.
“Garrett and Chris represent the best of EMS,” said Greg Thompson, executive director. “We are fortunate that they, day in and day out, have chosen to dedicate their time and talents to improving health outcomes throughout our community.”
Sergeant Whisenhunt completed his Associate of Applied Science in Paramedicine with highest honors and has been serving in EMS for more than five years. Garrett is committed to lifelong learning and has formed the "Journal Club" at MEMS to increase knowledge and reduce self-doubt for himself and his EMS colleagues. He is also involved in various initiatives to improve safety practices and interdepartmental relationships.
“I am fortunate to have found a career I love,” said Whisenhunt.” This award is just the icing on the cake.”
Chris Workman is known for his community involvement, volunteerism, and auctioneering skills. Chris has served as a Volunteer Firefighter and Reserve Police Officer and has coached children’s T-Ball teams. He is a member of the MEMS Honor Guard and the Arkansas Emergency Medical Technician Association. Chris is also a small-business owner, operating Workman’s Auction since 2006. He is deeply humble and compassionate and offers non-traditional, outside-of-the-box care for his patients that sets him apart from his peers.
“EMS is a calling, and I was called 23 years ago,” said Workman. “To be recognized by my peers with the Stars of Life” award is an honor.”
About the American Ambulance Association
The American Ambulance Association safeguards the future of mobile healthcare through advocacy, thought leadership, and education. AAA advances sustainable EMS policy, empowering our members to serve their communities with high-quality on-demand healthcare. For more than 40 years, we have proudly represented those who care for people first.
MEMS is a public, non-profit entity, and is governed by the Little Rock Ambulance Authority (LRAA). Serving Pulaski and Grant Counties and the cities of Maumelle, Sherwood, and Cabot, MEMS covers approximately 1,800 square miles and more than 400,000 people. Since 2004, MEMS has been accredited with the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) which signifies a “Gold Standard” in emergency medical service providers.
Before the storms of Friday, MEMS was already in Yellow Status. Yellow is an alert position where we begin planning an event based on a forecast or intel. At approximately 2:30, the storm first touched down, staying on the ground for an extended time, crossing much of the MEMS area of responsibility. For this reason, we moved to Red Status, which is an "all-hands-on-deck" recall.
As the storm lifted, we began to respond, and several neighboring agencies reached out and offered mutual aid to us. Unsure of the number of patients we had, we requested additional units from three other agencies.
With any disaster, the early information can be wildly inaccurate. For example, one news outlet reported 600 injuries, with the police department providing additional transportation because EMS was stretched thin; this was inaccurate.
There was one unfortunate death in North Little Rock; however, the overall number of other injuries for a storm this size was less than what would be expected. Nevertheless, the widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure is significant. As of this morning, we know of four MEMS staff whose homes have suffered damage but no personal injuries. MEMS had one station receive damage, and one ambulance and one supervisor truck located in Sherwood also received damage.
Today we continue to ensure that the public has their needs met as we begin the recovery process. We also work to ensure that the MEMS family who has been affected has their needs met. To the MEMS family, if you need anything we may not be aware of, please don't hesitate to ask for assistance; we are in this together!
Executive Director, MEMS
Congratulations to our 45th Rookie Academy class! Today they graduated from their courses with South Arkansas Community College. Their journey is not yet over; these students will continue to practice and study for their NREMT exam and skills testing in the coming weeks.