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News Releases
AMR River Rescue Responds to Drowning on Sandy River - 07/16/18

At 4:55 PM today, AMR Lifeguards at Glen Otto Park were alerted that an approximate 25 year-old male swimmer had gone under the surface of the Sandy River and had not re-surfaced. AMR Lifeguards were directed to an area of the river below Glen Otto Park toward Lewis & Clark Park about 10 yards downstream of the Troutdale Bridge. The strong current swept the submerged victim downstream, in water depths near the limit surface divers can reach. AMR's Lifeguards were quickly joined by members of Gresham Fire & Rescue's Water Rescue Team and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. All three agencies train together for this type of incident.

As a result of their combined efforts, the victim was located approximately ten feet below the surface near. He was quickly brought to shore and resuscitation efforts began immediately. An AMR ambulance staged on the shore continued full resuscitation efforts during transport to the hospital. The victim's heart rhythm and pulses were restored shortly before the ambulance arrived at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center. The young man's current condition and prognosis are unknown at this time.

While we hope for the best outcome, our hearts go out to the family and friends of the survivor. Along with our partners at Gresham Fire & Rescue and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, American Medical Response (AMR) would like to remind everyone that the power of the Sandy River, and all Northwest rivers, should not be underestimated. We strongly advise everyone in or near the water to please wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (life jacket).

AMR has stationed Lifeguards on the Sandy River at Glen Otto Park since 1999 and on the Clackamas River at High Rocks since 2002. AMR's intervention was in response to community pleas to help decrease drownings, which had averaged approximately four per year at the two locations. Today, the River Safety Program remains part of AMR's commitment to enhance services in the Northwest Communities it serves as the emergency ambulance provider.


AMR Clackamas County Paramedic Receives National Award (Photo) - 06/21/18

Additional photos attached.

AMR Clackamas County Paramedic Receives National Award (Photo) - 06/21/18

American Ambulance Association Star of Life

(Portland, Oregon, June 20, 2018) – The American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. This is the 19th year Stars of Life were honored from their communities and states across the country.  The multi-day event took place at Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, June 11-13, 2018.

Robert Aberle, an Oregon Paramedic and seventeen year veteran of AMR’s (American Medical Response) Reach and Treat Team, is a 2018 recipient of a Star of Life from the American Ambulance Association (AAA).  AMR’s Reach & Treat Team responds to fallen hikers, climbers, and other injured enthusiasts in the wilderness areas of the Mt. Hood National Forest, providing advanced medical care in remote settings.

Aberle, a member of the Reach and Treat team since 2001, epitomizes the team’s dedication to caring for patients in the wilderness.  As just one example, on a Saturday in August 2017, a man who was canyon jumping into a river suffered serious injuries. Due to the remote location, his friend had to hike out of the canyon and then drive where he could get cell service to call 911.

The sheriff’s office activated a Search and Rescue (SAR) mission and established a command post.  AMR’s Reach and Treat Team (Aberle and his partner) prepared their gear, responded, deployed into the field (which took hours of hiking), and located the subject.  They were joined by personnel from Pacific Northwest Search & Rescue and Portland Mountain Rescue. Aberle, an Ultra Runner, was familiar with the rocky and remote location as he regularly trained there. This ultimately helped them reach the patient more quickly and treat him for his injuries. 

When rescuers realized it would take up to 10 hours to move the injured patient to a location where helicopter evacuation was possible, Aberle, his partner and other rescuers stayed in the canyon overnight with the patient, with Aberle monitoring his medical condition and keeping him warm. Aberle had immobilized his injuries, given him fluids, and also shared his MREs with him during the night.

“This was a more stressful Reach and Treat call,” says Aberle, “there was no cell phone and no radio communications to connect us with Clackamas County SAR or the Army National Guard.”  While daytime temps were in the 90’s, it was cold in the morning and they were all shivering. In the morning the team of rescuers moved down river to a location where the rescue helicopter could reach the patient.

SAR Coordinators began activation of a helicopter rescue Sunday morning. An Army National Guard Blackhawk showed up about 7:10 a.m.  However the crew realized they couldn’t drop the usual stretcher into the very deep canyon. The Blackhawk returned four hours later with a new crew who used the “forest penetrator” to evacuate the patient. The chopper lowered a flight medic down on the forest penetrator (a type of seat) to join the rescuers on the ground with the victim. Then medic and patient were hoisted to the Blackhawk helicopter.  The subject was subsequently airlifted to the hospital.  “All of our teams working together is what makes wilderness rescue work: Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office SAR, Portland Mountain Rescue, and Pacific NW Mountain Rescue,” says Aberle.

"At the American Ambulance Association's Stars of Life celebration, we pay tribute to those EMS professionals who make a difference in the lives of the patients and communities they serve," stated Mark Postma, AAA president. "Each Star is a vital part of our Nation’s public safety and public health network."  Aberle was one of 100 recipients to receive the 2018 Star of Life award – the highest honor an EMS professional can receive. 

Founded in 1979, the AAA's Mission is to promote healthcare policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve. The AAA represents ambulance services across the United States that participate in serving more than 75% of the U.S. population with emergency and non-emergency care and medical transportation services.

Each Star of Life award winner will also be profiled in a special edition of EMS Insider.


About American Medical Response

American Medical Response, Inc., America’s leading provider of medical transportation, provides services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. More than 28,000 AMR paramedics, EMTs, RNs and other professionals work together to transport more than 4.8 million patients nationwide each year in critical, emergency and non-emergency situations. AMR also provides fire services through Rural Metro Fire Department,, and managed transportation services through Access2Care, AMR is a subsidiary of Global Medical Response.

About AMR’s Reach and Treat Team

AMR’s Reach and Treat program has served residents of Clackamas and Multnomah counties since 1988.  The team was developed to provide advanced emergency medical services in the wilderness setting and is made up of EMT’s and Paramedics trained in mountain and swift water rescues. The Reach and Treat Team works cooperatively with multiple agencies during rescues of patients from mountains, canyons, cliffs, and other wilderness areas.