Park Rangers Save Lives

Tennessee Park Rangers Association News

Park Rangers Saving Lives

newslogoSummer has just begun, and Tennessee State Park Assistant Emergency Services Coordinator Shay Steele reports State Parks has already dealt with five cardiac arrests and one foreign body complete airway obstruction. Four of these visitors were saved due to the skills and execution of park rangers and staff. Even in the exceptional case when there was not a positive outcome, rangers and park staff made every effort and provided excellent care until EMS arrived.

Chickasaw State Park

On Sunday, May 29, a campground guest at Chickasaw State Park suffered a heart attack. Rangers Ron Elder and Zach Tinkle responded to find the gentleman unconscious and not breathing. They immediately used the Automatic Electronic Defibrilator (AED) to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm and performed CPR until an ambulance arrived. He was then transported to the life-flight helicopter which had landed at the park ballfield nearby.

West Tennessee Healthcare EMS contacted the park on Monday, and they were extremely complimentary of Rangers Elder and Tinkle for their quick response, knowledge and professionalism. “Their quick actions and knowledge may have saved this man’s life,” said Joyce Noles, Medical Center EMS Director. “This does not happen often, and I would like to let you know what a great job both of these rangers did. Knowing they are working in one of the parks that Medical Center EMS serves is a great comfort.” On June 14, Commissioners Martineau and Brock Hill joined Assistant Commissioner Mike Carlton for a special recognition event at Chickasaw honoring Rangers Elder and Tinkle at Chickasaw. “I want to thank these rangers and this staff,” said Deputy Commissioner Hill. “I also want to credit State Parks leadership for the emphasis they place on EMT training and the paramedic skills they develop in their corps.”


Cove Lake State Park

At Cove Lake State Park, Manager Kim Moore and Ranger Roby Wray recently observed a guest in a car veer off the road and hit fence. Because the doors were locked and the man inside was not responding, they pulled him to a safe distance from the vehicle. As the patient experienced what looked like seizure activity, stopped breathing and became pulseless, Kim immediately started CPR. After a few cycles of CPR, Kim said the patient regained a pulse, started breathing, and was transferred to UT Medical Center when EMS arrived at the park.

Harrison Bay State Park

Ranger Allen Reynolds responded to a one-year old patient who had stopped breathing at Harrison Bay State Park. On his arrival, he and lifeguards administered rescue breaths until the baby began to breathe on its own. At that time, Allen administered blow by oxygen and constantly monitored the infant until EMS arrived – including checking its temperature (which was down to 102F when the ambulance arrived). Ranger Matt Vawter also responded and assisted Allen until EMS arrived. By the time EMS arrived, the baby was responsive and had good color. Allen stated the parents, as well as EMS, believed the apnea was caused by a febrile seizure as the infant had been suffering from cold like symptoms.

The statistics from the American Heart Association show the odds of surviving an arrest in the pre-hospital environment (in an urban setting under the best circumstances) is less than 30 percent. “We are demonstrating that the more people you have with proper training, the better the patient’s chances of survival will be,” said Assistant Commissioner Mike Carlton. “With the number of people we serve and the wide area, often remote locations we cover, it is a good investment for a number of our rangers and park staff to have extensive EMT, CPR and First Aid training. My hat is off to everyone involved in this critical organization effort – from our rangers to our training crew.”

*Article from 06-24-11 This week at TDEC

Fall Creek Falls State Park


Fall Creek Falls Park Rangers Ray Cutcher (left) and Robin Bayless (right)

Park Rangers Ray Cutcher and Robin Bayless were recently recognized by the Van Buren County Emergency Medical Services for their efforts in the successful resuscitation of a park visitor. They each received the “For A Life Saved” Award from the Van Buren County EMS Director. Rangers Bayless and Cutcher responded to a call at the Fall Creek Falls Inn to assist a visitor that had collapsed from an apparent heart attack. Their quick response, along with members of the Van Buren County EMS, resulted in saving the individual’s life.

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