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Rowan County EMS Director celebrates retirement, reflects on the program's growth

Morehead Police Department

After decades of service to Rowan County Emergency Medical Services, Director Danny Blevins retired Sunday, October 1.

Blevins, who took the role of EMS Director in 2008, began his career in 1986 as a volunteer firefighter. When he later joined the EMS, he and other paramedics were only licensed to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) services, such as first-aid care. Blevins said Rowan County EMS has since evolved to give its residents advanced care.

“We were able to get into a paramedic program, and when I’d come out of that program, me and several other of my counterparts that had been working for several years as EMTs here, basic EMTs, we were advanced. We were able to provide advanced care as paramedics. And we actually brought the county, when we got trained, we was able to bring the county from BLS service to what’s called Advanced Life Support Savers,” said Blevins.

He said though he is retiring as director, he is excited for the future of emergency service capabilities, which will soon include electrocardiograms and real-time patient monitoring.

“When I first started, our medication list was pretty small. And now that I look what we’re able to give now, training-wise and some of the new medications that's found their way into the field, we have a lot more options for treating a lot more different types of ailments and illnesses and injuries, said Blevins.

Rowan County EMS provides emergency and non-emergency care to anyone in Rowan County, both within and outside city limits. Blevins said the faster that EMS can reach people in rural areas, the shorter the patient’s hospital stay and the better their chance at survival.

“When minutes make a difference, you’re able to get there and administer certain types of medications. Whether it be epinephrin for asthma attacks, or nitroglycerin for chest pains and heart attacks, and start IVs and stabilize folks with trauma related to their injuries with IVs, and things of that nature, you really are saving lives and reducing hospital stays,” said Blevins.

Blevins said his years as director have been very rewarding, and he commends his fellow paramedics and technicians, who served the county at the height of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

“You know, I could’ve actually retired a couple years ago, right smack dab during the COVID epidemic, and I chose not to do that because of my sense of teamwork and my sense of commitment to the county. I wanted- I felt like it was trying times, and I need to hang here with the crews, and that’s what I’d done,” said Blevins. “And the folks, even before there was ever a vaccine available, they were making runs and calls and doing their job.”

Officials said the interview process to appoint a new director, led by the Rowan County Fiscal Court and Rowan County Judge Executive’s office, is underway.

More information about Rowan County EMS can be found online at https://www.rcky.us/. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.