GRAFTON, Vt. – The recognition of Emergency Medical Services in Vermont was somewhat subdued this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic; however, the Vermont Department of Health did go ahead with its awards recognizing various individuals and organizations in EMS for their achievements.
Will Moran, EMS Chief for the Department of Health, announced that the 2021 EMS Educator of the Year was Keith Hermiz of the Grafton Rescue Squad. Keith, an advanced emergency medical technician who serves as president and training officer of Grafton Rescue, was cited in particular for his determination not to let EMS education be a victim of the pandemic, which caused most classes and training programs to be suspended.
After working diligently to acquire much needed and difficult to obtain personal protective equipment for the Grafton Squad, Keith then organized ongoing in-house training using distance learning and Zoom sessions so the Grafton responders could stay current with the field. “At this point,” according to Grafton Emergency Medical Responder Mike Field, “Keith recognized the disrupted state of regularly available classes and took it upon himself to prepare and offer an EMR course meeting all safety protocols in Grafton that ultimately served 15 students from Grafton, Chester, and Westminster.”
This course was doubly important during the past year not only due to most training being curtailed but also because of the ever present need for EMS personnel.
Keith was recognized previously as the EMS Educator of the Year in 2019 for his constant efforts to train first responders and his effectiveness at planning and teaching numerous aspects of EMS and rescue services. Notably, he has been the lead instructor in the advanced CPR training technique known as the Resuscitation Academy, which he has taught to more than 15 Police, Fire, and EMS Departments in central and southern Vermont.
All training and use of this technique ceased due to the Covid-19 protocols, which limited the number of responders doing CPR. Once the pandemic started to ease up, Keith pushed to resume teaching the Resuscitation Academy CPR technique for which approval was granted and the first session recently completed. As Keith is well known in Vermont for his involvement with EMS, his receiving this award a second time would not have been a surprise to his colleagues in the EMS community. Although it was a surprise to Keith, who responded with characteristic modesty by replying, “There must be some mistake.”