Courtney Chumley

Courtney Chumley

Courtney is the District Chief of EMS at Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, as well as a Regional Client Development Specialist at Pulsara.

Recent posts by Courtney Chumley

8 min read

How Cy-Fair Fire Department Prepared for and Continues to Mitigate the COVID-19 Crisis

By Courtney Chumley on Jul 02, 2020

At Pulsara, we're committed to helping your organization recover from the initial COVID-19 wave, and prepare for current and future cases. One such way we're striving to equip care teams is by publishing thought leadership and real life examples of how other health systems have successfully managed COVID-19 and its widespread effects.

When COVID-19 hit the U.S., Pulsara client Cy-Fair Fire Department was prepared. They immediately put protocols in place to help mitigate the spread, which they are continuing to use and refine, and even put together a few informational videos to help other EMS agencies. Read on to learn how Cy-Fair was able to prepare for the first wave, and what they are currently doing to manage and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by leveraging innovative technologies and systems.

On January 23rd, while the world was watching the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis overseas, the command staff at the Cy-Fair Fire Department met to plan their response. Headed up by Assistant Chief Justin Reed and Communications Chief Angela Burrer, the group began to discuss the threat they knew they were about to face. 

With a service area covering 156 square miles and a population of approximately 475,000 people, the Cy-Fair team knew the potential impacts for the area were enormous. Clear communication was going to be important, they decided, so after that initial meeting, they chose to schedule daily morning video/phone briefings for all on-duty personnel and recorded them for those that were on a response. 

As the virus slowly advanced towards the United States, Cy-Fair staff recognized the logistical concerns of providing appropriate clinical care, recognizing patients early, being mindful of overtriage, and managing personal protective equipment and force protection. They made it a priority to plan accordingly.

Topics: Connected Teams COVID-19 Client Success
2 min read

To Those Who Go Beyond the Call: An EMS Week Thank You

By Courtney Chumley on May 20, 2019

With the arrival of EMS Week, comes a great opportunity to reflect on this year's theme: Beyond the Call, Crews and Caregivers placing service above self. It makes me incredibly proud to be part of a profession that recognizes these moments. However, as a manager it also has made me wonder how many moments are taking place every day that we miss. 

This theme makes me realize we can do a better job of recognizing many of the efforts by our EMS providers, and I am grateful that we have an entire week dedicated to doing just that. I truly believe that caregivers in our profession are stepping up every day without expectations to go above and beyond, and we can all do a better job of saying thank you to our colleagues. These moments can be the smallest of gestures that mean the world to someone else, or a huge effort made possible by entire departments joining forces. 

Topics: EMS
3 min read

A Better Way for First Responders to Address Families of Critical Patients -- From Someone Who has Been on Both Sides.

By Courtney Chumley on Apr 12, 2019

Every first responder has gone through EMT and/or Paramedic school and remembers the very short section that covered how to explain to a family that their loved one has died. “Don’t use vague words. Make sure you use 'has died' and 'is dead.'” But after 20 years of field experience, that section did not equip us with nearly enough information to help these family members cope far into the future.

Throughout my career, I have spoken with many people who have suffered a sudden loss. I have heard the same information from them: they didn’t know what was going on. No one was talking to them and letting them be a part of the process. The family and bystanders wonder if they could have done more to help. Then, they wonder what happens next.

There was a turning point in my career 12 years ago where I was on-scene at an unexpected cardiac arrest in a 28-year-old male. He had the flu for a few days and collapsed in front of his young wife. We were doing our best to resuscitate him, when I heard his wife ask “I don’t know if any of you believe in God but can someone please pray with him real quick?” Before I could say a word back, someone else on scene replied “we don’t have time for that right now.”  To this day, I am still bothered by that momentary lack of compassion. All that was requested of us was to say a few silent words to him on behalf of her beliefs to help bring just a moment of comfort and hope to a terrifying situation. 

Topics: EMS
2 min read

The Unrealized Potential ER Doctors Have to Improve EMS Relationships Within Their Own Hospitals.

By Courtney Chumley on Mar 22, 2019

Eighteen years ago, I was a brand new paramedic. My boots were un-scuffed and my uniform shirt was spotless. I was ready to be a hero. But then I made my first breathing problems call and my patient had both a history of CHF and COPD and I couldn’t hear her lung sounds. I picked the protocol I thought best and took her to the hospital. 

On arrival, Dr. Robert Sheppard  walked into the room as I was giving report and promptly starts ordering everything from the protocol I didn’t choose. He probably saw the look on my face and my heart sinking, and he said “come here with me.” He took me out of the room into the empty radiology hallway and told me “you missed it.” I told him I couldn’t hear her lung sounds and he responded, “You didn’t have to hear her lungs… you didn’t listen to everything else her body was trying to tell you. You were too focused on one thing. Don’t miss it again.” He smiled and he walked back into the room to take care of the patient. That two minutes he took out of his day to pull me aside and teach me instead of doing it in front of everyone in the room has impacted my life to this day. 

Topics: EMS
2 min read

Research Reveals the True Impact EMS Providers Have on STEMI Survivability

By Courtney Chumley on Mar 11, 2019

Picture this: You receive a 911 call for chest pain, and on arrival you are quick to identify that your patient is having a STEMI. You quickly load the patient into the medic unit and then notify the receiving facility you are on the way. You find out later that your patient went to the cath lab and is now in recovery doing well. Job well done….or was it?

Topics: STEMI EMS Communication
2 min read

EMS and the ED need to stop playing telephone (or radio, rather). There's a better way to communicate.

By Courtney Chumley on Jan 31, 2019

Not too long ago in EMS, having computer-aided dispatch was only a daydream. We were lucky to even get a patient type back then. Remember when we were “dispatched” by picking up the phone at the station and being told there was a medical emergency at an address? This would sometimes be followed by a tip like “if you see a brown cow near a white picket fence, you should turn there.” No? Was that just those of us in rural Texas?

Fast forward to 2019, when there are national standards for emergency dispatchers to obtain information from the calling party and relay this information to the responding personnel. Now, not only do first responders get an address with a map, we get often get more details too: “42yr old male, chest pain, skin is cool and clammy, the patient was instructed to take Aspirin by the dispatcher, he is changing color. Patient was outside mowing his grass when the pain started 30 minutes ago.”

Topics: EMS