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South Dakota Emergency Medical Services hosts 46th annual conference in Pierre

The 46th Annual South Dakota Emergency Medical Services meeting in Pierre.
The 46th Annual South Dakota Emergency Medical Services meeting in Pierre.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Oct. 31, 2021 at 1:01 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - Hundreds of South Dakota first responders made their way to Pierre this weekend for the 46th annual South Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association (SD EMS) Conference.

Some of the activities first responders took in were buying new equipment and merchandise, attending training sessions, and getting to meet and reunite with other first responders.

“There are only a few of you, and you have to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all times of the year,” said Wayne Ames, SD EMS President of District 4.

“In essence it is almost like a family reunion,” explained Kevin Heath, SD EMS Conference Chairman. “I have been in this long enough where I have gotten to know a lot of people... You’ll walk in and just walk down the hall and someone will just come up and give you a hug and ask ‘How is it going?’ You just get that atmosphere here.”

For the +500 participants attending in person or virtually, there is more to the weekend than just learning and comradery.

The conference also gives attendees, most of whom are volunteers in their communities, the chance to share ideas to improve their working conditions, and the life-saving measures and tools needed to help those who need them in an emergency.

Governor Kristi Noem and Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden listened to some of those ideas Friday morning.

“It would be nice to have health insurance that is backed by the state, to help us with that... Some ambulance services are struggling with funding, (the state) being able to provide and give ambulances to departments, just getting them equipped,” said Ames. “It would be nice if we had some help, just some more funding from the state in general.”

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