Three Puckett EMS employees were honored for performing critical patient care in extraordinary circumstances at the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Award Breakfast on Oct. 2.
The Public Safety Recognition Awards recognize public safety personnel’s daily efforts to keep the community a safe and thriving place and tell stories of the heroic actions of local law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire department and emergency communications professionals.
“At Puckett EMS, we know that our success begins with the excellent men and women who are on the front lines providing care to our community every day,” said Puckett EMS President Steve Puckett. “We thank the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce for this recognition of our employees who went above and beyond in their efforts to save lives. We are also grateful to work along our exceptional local first responder and law enforcement partners during Public Safety Appreciation Week and year-round.”
Paramedic Chris Gudaitis was nominated for going above and beyond in his efforts to save lives – even while off duty. In April 2017, Cobb County paramedic Gudaitis was traveling on a highway in Forsyth County, Georgia, when he came across an unconscious man laying partially in his lane. As the first on the scene, he immediately removed him from the roadway and begin assessing his condition prior to first responders arriving.
In a letter of appreciation from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Lieutenant Andy Kalin stated, “Mr. Gudaitis at the very least prolonged the victim’s life by his actions. Please thank and praise Mr. Gudaitis for his exemplary actions, professionalism and selflessness.”
In the public safety unit category, Paramedic Travis McGhee and Advanced EMT John Rigdon with Puckett EMS Unit 322 were honored for their lifesaving response to a call in 2016. The crew was dispatched to the scene of a man experiencing difficulty breathing, and they found the man unconscious and unresponsive. McGhee and Rigdon conducted CPR on the scene and provided a defibrillator shock as they moved him to the ambulance.
During transport, the crew noted the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure were decreasing, an indication that he may not survive. The crew used a medicine to induce activity from the heart muscle. When the medicine had no effect on the patient, the crew administered another drug as a last resort to get a response. The procedure sparked the heart to respond and the crew continued CPR until arriving at the hospital and the patient began breathing on his own. Several days later, the patient was released from the hospital with limited damage.
“These fine men represent a whole team of heroic first responders in our company that perform at the highest level every day whether on duty or off duty,” said Puckett EMS Public Information Office Jim McMichen. “It’s a culture that begins with those on the front lines and permeates throughout our organization.”
The Puckett EMS personnel were among more than 20 public safety personnel and units honored for service at the breakfast event. All three Puckett EMS employees received plaques to recognize their service.
About Puckett EMS
Puckett EMS provides 911 emergency and critical care ambulance services to the citizens of Southwest Cobb, Walker and Dade counties located in North Georgia. In addition to operations in Georgia, Puckett EMS provides 911 emergency services to Marion and Sequatchie counties in Tennessee and is the contracted ground transport for multiple Hospital Systems. Puckett EMS is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS), which signifies that the service has met the gold standard by the ambulance industry. Puckett EMS is one of only five CAAS-accredited EMS services in the State of Georgia. In addition, Puckett EMS is one of only 160 services accredited nationwide by The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services.
Puckett EMS is deeply involved in the communities it services. The agency has been recognized eight times as a top business in Cobb County and won the 2013 Small Business of the Year from the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Puckett EMS was named the Georgia Emergency Medical Service of the Year by the Georgia Department of Health. In 2016, was awarded the Southeastern Emergency Medical Service Directors Association (SEEMSDA) Emergency Medical Service of the Year Award.