Five years ago this Sunday, November 18, the Richmond Ambulance Authority severed ties with its contractor and became a self- operated public utility model ambulance service. This step was taken by RAA’s Board of Directors after the contractor was deemed in breach of contract for repeatedly failing to meet response times. Today, RAA is consistently performing at the highest level in its 21-year history.

“There is a rising tide of demand in the EMS system here in Richmond yet our response times are better than they have ever been,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “Changing from the old model, where a contractor ran the day-to-day operations for RAA, to overseeing all facets of the operation ourselves has proven to be very beneficial to the overall quality of Richmond’s EMS system and the citizens we serve.  Our team has analyzed years’ worth of data and adjusted the system to run more efficiently.”

RAA is known throughout the United States and internationally for its consistent level of excellent service, implementation of leading-edge clinical trials, which are at the forefront of the evolution of EMS worldwide, and impactful public education programs.  Recent public education campaigns include the Rider Alertmotorcycle safety initiative which has since spread to many other states across the nation and Sweden; theCrossing Alert pedestrian safety campaign; and the Great Days of CPR mass CPR training events.

These initiatives and overall system-wide excellence have not gone unnoticed as RAA and its employees have won numerous awards in recent years:

November 2012:

Danny Garrison, RAA’s Director of Communications, won the 2012 Virginia Governor’s EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Medical Services Telecommunication.

July 2012:

RAA won five Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) 2012 Regional Awards.

Chip Decker, Richmond Ambulance Authority’s CEO, won the award for Excellence in EMS; Richmond Ambulance Authority won for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety; Daniel Linkins, RAA’s Training Coordinator, won the award for Outstanding EMS Pre-Hospital Educator; Solomon Luckett, RAA’s Clinical Research Manager, won the award for Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS; and Danny Garrison, RAA’s Director of Communications, won for Outstanding EMS Telecommunications Dispatcher.

June 2012:

The Rider Alert program won the 2012 Virginia Governor’s Transportation Safety Award for motorcycle safety.

RAA also won the 2012 Virginia Healthcare Innovators Award in Patient Care: 1 – 250 Employees category.   The Healthcare Innovators Awards recognize Virginia organizations that have developed innovative ways to improve healthcare quality and efficiency.

March 2012:

Rob Lawrence, RAA’s Chief Operating Officer, won a prestigious EMS10 Award.  This award, the EMS profession’s equivalent of an Oscar, recognizes 10 individuals who have contributed to EMS in an exceptional and innovative way.  Lawrence was chosen for spearheading RAA’s launch of the Rider Alert motorcycle safety initiative in Virginia in April of 2011.

February 2012:

RAA was honored with a Patriot Award for being an outstanding employer of National Guard members and Reserve forces.

November 2011:

Dr. Joseph P. Ornato, Operational Medical Director for the Richmond Ambulance Authority, won the 2011 Virginia Governor’s Award for Outstanding EMS Physician.

July 2010:

RAA won the Old Dominion EMS Alliance’s (ODEMSA) 2010 Regional Award for Outstanding EMS Agency and Captain Wes Wampler, Operations Supervisor for RAA, was named Regional Outstanding Prehospital Provider of the year.

RAA is recognized internationally and officials come to Richmond from all over to learn about the system and clinical trials implemented here. Visitors over the past five years include numerous government officials, doctors and EMS personnel from England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Norway, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, Turkmenistan, and Taiwan as well as from throughout the United States.

Jan E. Nilsen MD, Director, National Centre for Prehospital Emergency Medicine (NAKOS), Oslo, Norway said, “NAKOS has had a long lasting and close collaboration with RAA within different areas of emergency medical research. We appreciate the enthusiasm and the high professional level we meet with all employees of RAA. We share the belief that we can continuously improve the quality of our services through a strong focus on research and development. NAKOS congratulates the RAA with the good results already achieved and we look forward to continuing a rewarding relationship.”

“We enjoy hosting visitors from EMS systems throughout the world,” said Decker.  “It is an honor for us to share our knowledge with them, and we want to learn about their systems as well.  Sharing best practices and the open exchange of ideas and data allows us to provide the best possible clinical care and patient outcomes.”