Event aims to improve training for fire, rescue and medical personnel in New England.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY – National and state speakers connected to emergency medical services will be featured during a four-day conference beginning Thursday.

Franklin Medical Reserve will hold its first Western Mountains Emergency Medical Services Conference. The event will run from Thursday, May 29, to Sunday, June 1, at Sugarloaf/USA.

Among the speakers are Dr. J. Matt Shol, an associate medical director for Boston Emergency Medical Services, who is on the regional disaster medical team, and Dr. Murray Hamlet, who is with the U.S. Army Research Initiative of Environmental Medicine and is an international authority on wilderness and environmental medicine.

Other speakers include Dr. Larry Hopperstead, medical director for Central Maine Medical Center’s Trauma Center, and Dr. Kevin Kendall, assistant director of emergency medicine at CMMC and also associate medical director of LifeFlight of Maine. LifeFlight is a helicopter ambulance.

People, including police, firefighters and ambulance personnel from all over New England who work in the emergency medical field or are thinking about entering the field are invited to attend, said regional paramedic supervisor Olan Johnston.

The newly established reserve developed out of the auspices of the U.S. Homeland Security and Volunteerism initiative, Johnston said. The reserve received a grant for the purposes of establishing the reserve and maintaining a first-responder system that augments what “we already have,” Johnston said.

The training is targeted toward those in Franklin Memorial Hospital’s emergency service system, Johnston said. All others will be asked to pay a nominal fee, he said. Sugarloaf/USA has worked with the reserve to keep housing costs at a minimum, Johnston said.

“The intent is to provide additional training to our emergency responders,” he said. “Some of the training components of this conference are directly related to homeland security issues as they are related to Maine.”

One of the classes is on mass destruction, Johnston said. He is an instructor in this area for the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Other sessions include hazardous materials, elderly trauma, mass casualty incidents, avalanche awareness, wilderness trauma, wilderness pharmacology and interacting with the media.

To register or to get more information about conference, call Johnston at 235-2222.

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