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Prince William County first responders honored with Public Safety Awards

At the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution (VASSAR) annual conference in Richmond on February 11, 2017, four members of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department were recognized with VASSAR Public Safety Awards.
Technician II Shawn Bliss received the VASSAR Heroism Award.

On June 6, 2015 Technician Bliss, while off duty, entered the rain swollen Shenandoah River in order to assess occupants of an overturned canoe for injuries. One of the occupants was a young boy who wanted to cross back to the other side with Shawn Bliss. Shawn was hanging onto the shoulder strap of the boy’s life jacket while walking behind him. The boy lost his footing and slipped into the water. Both were swept into the river and drawn into the rapids.

Shawn maintained his hold and both of them made it through the rapids safely. The boy’s mother stated “there was a minute that as a mother, I thought I would not go home with my son; that was the worst feeling of my life”. As a result of his actions that day, Technician Bliss was awarded the Prince William County Valor Award.

Lt. Daniel Acosta, Technician II Jeffrey Chapman, and Technician II Sean Trainum, of Medic 511, received the VASSAR Emergency Medical Services Award. On December 1, 2015, Medic 511 was dispatched for a domestic disturbance. The crew arrived to find a male that had been stabbed multiple times in the back along with defensive wounds on the forearms. The victim was already experiencing signs of shock.

The victim also had a collapsed lung which required a Needle Chest Decompression. This is an intervention that is rarely performed. For example, out of 50,000 incidents this intervention is only performed 3 times. Blood pressure was improved by pressure infusing fluids and medication. Because of the fog that night, Medivac was not an option. As a result, Medic 511’s crew transported the patient 21 miles to INOVA Fairfax. The receiving physician stated the interventions saved the patient’s life.

These four first responders were recognized for their service at a ceremony by the George Washington Chapter, VASSAR, on August 9, 2016 and were nominated for these awards at the state level.

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