by PJ Rooks
June 1 will mark a changing of the guard at the Northland Regional Ambulance District as current assistant director, Scott Roy, steps in to replace outgoing executive director Tom Taylor, who is retiring.
Roy will oversee a staff of 23 full-time emergency medical technicians, paramedics, supervisors and administrative employees and another 10 ambulance employees who work on an as-needed basis.
"We’re kind of small so I have to wear a couple of hats," said Roy. "A hat as a supervisor and a hat, obviously, as a paramedic.”
Roy has been with NRAD for several years, serving as assistant director for the last four. He began his career as a fire dispatcher at a volunteer fire service in eastern Jackson County in the early 1990s, trained to receive first a license as an emergency medical technician and then as a paramedic and completed a bachelor's degree in management and a master's degree in public administration.
He settled in the Northland in 2004, he said, stationed mostly in Dearborn.
Moving forward with one of his main goals, Roy said the district strives to look at incidences of cardiac arrest that occur outside of the hospital and to try, through advanced life support interventions as well as community education programs in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, to improve survival statistics.
Of the free CPR classes offered each month by the district, Roy said, "There's room for improvement. I'd like to get more people interested in CPR in the community because it's a team effort."
Roy also said that he'd like to promote a better public education of what the emergency medical service can be and looks forward to sitting down with the district's board to see if there are new services that should be offered and "making those happen as we move forward as an organization."
"As an industry, (emergency medical services) have only been around for the last 40 years and we can do a better job of educating the public on what to expect when they call 911.”
Roy said that, with average response times ranging between two to three minutes below the average, he is proud of NRAD's efficiency as well as the years of experience of its paramedics, who average over 10, and emergency medical technicians, who average over seven.
"We believe that in combination with proper training and proper tools, when NRAD shows up to deliver your request for pre-hospital treatment, we're providing a good service with the most recent advances in medicine and the tools to make those best practices happen. We take pride and we're able to deliver on that," he said.
Other future goals include staying abreast of recent developments, recommendations, training and tools for medical care and making efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
Taylor, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to pursuing his passion for photography and has recently moved into a new home in his native St. Joseph. Following a 22-year career in management with the emergency medical service in Raytown, he reflected upon nearly six years as executive director for NRAD and, crediting the organization's board, staff and leaders, said that one of the highlights has been the new addition to the building in Platte City, which now offers a multipurpose room for board meetings and community education.
Upgrading the fleet of ambulances was another, he said, as well as the development of a community education program and the recent installation of the Missouri LAGERS (Local Government Employees Retirement System) retirement program for employees.
"I don't think I did one thing up here by myself," said Taylor. "Any good organization is run because you've got good people that are backing you up and supporting your ideas and your programs and so forth."
Taylor said he is looking forward to "being a retired guy and doing my photography and being back home with all my family," but will remember working for NRAD as a positive experience.
"This is a really good organization," he said. "It's well run; it's got great people. Most ambulance districts our size would love to be in the situation we are in financially. It comes from the board of directors' financial management, supervisors who do their job and leaders who teach. It's been a wonderful place for me to work and if there have been challenges they haven't been too large to overcome."