How did you come to be part of the Brewster Ambulance team?
KC: I started with Brewster when they reopened in 2010 as an EMT Basic on the truck in Boston, the only one that they had in Boston. Back then I think we only had two chair cars and three ambulances. From there I went to the dispatch center and started dispatching. It wasn’t long after that I was promoted to dispatch supervisor and later to dispatch manager. I came over to Brockton when they added the South Shore Division. Before working at Brewster Ambulance I was part time at Fallon Ambulance and full time at Lowe’s Home Improvement doing loss prevention. I went to Curry College in Milton for criminal justice. When I got my EMT license, I started working part time. I liked the aspect of patients and decided to pursue it full time. My aunt and uncle worked for the pre-2010 Brewster Ambulance Service, so I already had exposure to Brewster Ambulance through them. I came to Brewster even though everyone at Fallon was telling me, “They [Brewster Ambulance] weren’t going to amount to anything,” and now I just chuckle about that.
I started in dispatch as a call taker and dispatcher and moved up to a supervisor after a year and did that for two, maybe three years. As the company grew and dispatch center grew, I later became the manager and had supervisors reporting to me. I was responsible for adding new dispatchers, new equipment and dispatch-related duties as the company grew. I got APCO Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) certified so I could answer the 911 calls. Brewster also put me through a class to become an APCO EMD instructor so I could teach other dispatchers how to answer 911 calls and certify them for the state.
What are you responsible for as Director of Operations out of Brockton?
KC: I’m responsible for all of the vehicles, the transfers, the 911 vehicles, scheduling of employees, payroll, overseeing the supervision in the area. I make sure we are working closely with the Brockton fire department and that our 911 response times are good. I want to stay on top of and address any issues that come up. Every day is about helping the team with whatever they need, helping facilities, bridging any gaps. I also work closely with the training department, so if someone on the team needs remedial training I'll set that up and make sure they get the help they need. I’m basically handling any issues that arise in the division.
What comprises the Brockton operation?
KC: Three bases: North Montello, Perkins Avenue and West Chestnut. We have 21 BLS trucks and six ALS trucks in the division with one 24/7 supervisor and eight chair cars that run out of the Brockton area. I’ve been here at Brockton since January 2016 after I transitioned from dispatch. We have over 250 part- and full-time people that make up the Brockton team.
What helped you make the transition to Brockton?
KC: George Brewster Sr. took me under his wing and has been showing me the ins and outs. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and has been instrumental in me getting up to speed quickly. There’s a variety of things I have to understand as Director of Operations, however, much of it is related to managing staff and making sure the team gets what they need to be successful so they can provide the best care to patients.
What type of ongoing support do you have now?
KC: I still talk to George Brewster Sr. every morning and afternoon. He's not around as much as he was when I first went to Brockton, and that's a good thing because I interpret that as a positive and that he trusts me. It's kind of me now running it and any time I have a question I can call him and he always helps me out. On the clinical side, I work with Chris DiBona, such as if there's a clinical issue or a new procedure or piece of equipment being added to the trucks. The training department and all of the operations managers work closely together. We bounce things off of each other and help each other out. The good thing is that everybody understands that we're on the same team. I have a great support system. The people on the team are all really good and they make it easy to do what I have to do every day.
What are some of the things that happen on a typical day?
KC: It varies. There are always team scheduling issues. Sometimes people have personal issues that come up and we do our best to help them get through it. Some team issues are status changes like when they are in school or if an emergency comes up, or a payroll issue where they forgot to punch out. We look at reports to make sure we have enough resources for demand so the crews are not being overworked. We're always monitoring everything. We look at the emergency room status to see how we can speed up the process, we also look at our on-time performance for facilities to see how we can make it better. It requires a lot of different disciplines, especially deciding how people can grow and succeed every day. We’re always figuring out how to deal with any given situation. We also handle any sort of facility complaints, where we look at what’s going on and investigate it, and find out where it went wrong and fix it. The great thing about scheduling, however, is now that we have this new RescueNet ePCR software from Zoll. It allows us to have everything in one place, and everyone on the team uses it from the moment the call comes in until the invoice is sent out. It works great. It allows us to manage the division a whole lot better because we now have our fingers on everything.
How is the partnership with the City of Brockton coming along since taking over the contract in July of 2015?
KC: We work well with Brockton fire and police. We have constant communication, therefore we don't have many issues. When we do, though, we handle them immediately. We do events together, collect expired prescription medicine, conduct drills with the fire department—they involve us in just about everything they do. It's a really good partnership. It's a busy area, and definitely never the same each day. I think before, a big part of our job was being a go-to resource for the team. They often know the answer, but they just want that reassurance and confirmation. Reporting is big and we’re always looking at the numbers to make sure we have the right resources.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE BREWSTER FAMILY'S PURCHASE OF EASCARE?
KC: I think it's awesome. We share a lot of the same service areas and it will be good for us to help each other out. The company was failing and the Brewster's truly get it and are great to work for. Mark, George and George Brewster Sr. are all family and will help them out—it’s not like you're just coming to a job every day. The EasCare folks were not happy with the prior management, and this is a huge improvement over what they had.
What topics would you like covered in future Brewster Insights newsletters?
KC: If we could share stories about the team when crews have a cardiac arrest save, or have an emergency delivery or any difficult call. It would be great to have more visible recognition for the crews when they do certain things.
Can you share a story about a challenging 911 call?
KC: The most recent one I can think of is that it was a great call, however, it didn’t have a good outcome. In December we had two ambulances respond to an address in Brockton that a two-year-old was unresponsive due to a head injury. The crew was able to get pulses back and gave him a fighting chance to live, which is often not the case with a pediatric call like that. The crew was incredible. They were able to get the child to Brockton Hospital and MedFlighted to Mass General in Boston. The child survived five days, but eventually succumbed to his injury. My brother, who works as an EMT on the Brockton 911 truck, was on that call.
What other family members are in EMS?
KC: As I mentioned, my aunt and uncle worked for the original Brewster Ambulance. Now, my younger brother is an EMT here in Brockton. My husband works as a paramedic on one of the Plymouth 911 trucks. My brother has aspirations to become a paramedic, as he likes what he does a lot. I was an inspiration for them to work for Brewster. My brother started as a chair car driver and then he went to EMT school. When the 911 system opened up in Brockton, he moved into that. My husband, who I met at my previous employer, came to Brewster a year after I did. He was their first full-time paramedic. He started in Boston when we got our ALS license, and when we got Middleboro, he went to work at that location. He’s now in Plymouth.
What do you feel is the Brewster’s magic formula?
KC: I think it's the family aspect of it, to be honest. You tend to be a number and just another employee at other places. The Brewsters, they want to get to know you. They're involved in everything day to day. They're not just sitting back and watching—they are very involved and have their finger on everything. They truly care about their team. You don't get that at a lot of places. They care about their customers, their patients—they care about everything. You would never know that it's difficult for them because they're constantly out and about talking to people and answering their questions. They truly have an open door policy, and even with the growth, they haven't lost that at all.
What’s life like outside of Brockton for you and your family?
KC: I have a two-year-old daughter, and outside of here it's all about her and my husband. We do stuff on the weekends, go to dance parties and fun stuff like that. Every minute that I'm not here and not doing stuff with Brewster, I’m enjoying life with my husband and daughter.
What are your aspirations at Brewster Ambulance?
KC: I really like where I'm at I'm looking forward to the company still growing and being part of it all. It's been an honor to be here since the beginning—since day one—and working for great people. It's not like a job—it’s like my other family. I like where I'm at and what I'm doing. I'm very happy. I love my job!