VFW Awards Fire Medic of the Year to Sgt. Buddy Paul

April 24, 2017

Every year, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1349 honors an EMT as Fire Medic of the Year. This year's awardee is Sergeant Buddy Paul of Prattville Fire Department. His award is for his service and accomplishments during 2016.

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Commander Harris reading Sergeant Buddy Paul's award.

On June 2nd, 2016, Prattville Fire Station 1's Engine Company 4 and Ambulance 21 were dispatched for a Choking/Respiratory Distress call at Country’s Bar-B-Que located at 130 North Memorial Drive. Crews responded promptly and arrived on the scene to find a female lying on the floor in the dining area of the restaurant.

Several employees and civilians were in the building, which made for a very chaotic environment. Battalion Chief Andrew Ellison personally witnessed the entire emergency once he arrived with A-21 and E-4. There were family members screaming and crying. Employees were very distraught. There were children present witnessing the emergency.

A crew member from Ambulance 21 knelt down quickly beside the patient to check for a pulse and did not find one. Sergeant Buddy Paul gained access to the patient and applied the cardiac monitor pads to start CPR. Sgt. Paul gained valuable information in a very short time period while performing CPR. The patient had just been eating a pulled pork plate. Sgt. Paul went to ventilate the patient and felt resistance. Due to Buddy's exemplary training, as well as his certification as a State Licensed Paramedic, he was able to attempt to intubate the patient with an endotracheal tube. While looking down the patient’s throat, he saw a large amount of pork meat obstructing the airway. Acting quickly, he removed the pork meat with the Magill forceps and ventilated the patient. Sergeant Paul continued to perform CPR while loading the patient onto the stretcher and into the ambulance.

Paul was in control of the scene and was not only calm, but was able to share that calming influence and control of the situation to reassure the onlookers. All of this was accomplished while valiantly and heroically saving the life of the patient. We are happy to share that, after being placed in the ambulance, the patient regained her pulse. Upon arrival at Prattville Baptist Hospital and before she was taken inside to the E.R., she began breathing on her own.

Sgt. Paul’s quick thinking, training, and execution of his paramedic skills resulted in saving the patient’s life.

As Battalion Chief Ellison approached Sergeant Paul afterward, he advised him that he did a great job in saving the woman’s life. Buddy was very humble, did not take the credit, but talked about how great his crew did. Fire professionals like Sergeant Buddy Paul are what make PFD what it is today.

Six months prior to this call, Buddy saved the life of a small child by administering CPR. Sergeant Buddy Paul was awarded the Post 1349 Fire Medic/EMT of the Year Award. His nomination went up to the national level and he was honored with the VFW National Fire Medic/EMT Award awarded by the VFW of the United States. This is an absolute honor. It was well-deserved and we are so proud to call Buddy one of our own!

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Displaying Buddy's National award!

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Councilor Marcus Jackson, PFD Chief Terry Brown, Mayor Bill Gillespie, Sergeant Buddy Paul, VFW Commander Dave Harris, and Quartermaster Perry Mann.