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Cranberry EMS crew chief honored at annual dinner

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
Cranberry Journal
Teak Baker, crew chief for Cranberry EMS, was recognized at the Emergency Medical Services Institute annual dinner on Nov. 1, at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pa. Don Scelza, Cranberry EMS president, left, Baker, and Ted Fessides, Cranberry EMS deputy director are all pictured. Alicia Fessides | For the Cranberry Journal

Teak Baker, a crew chief for the Cranberry Emergency Medical Services, was recently recognized for his hard work within the department, as well as in the community, at the annual dinner of The Emergency Medical Services Institute held earlier this month in Washington, Pa.

The Zelienople resident was nominated by Cranberry EMS executive director Jeff Kelly because he felt Baker met the EMSI nominee criteria of being knowledgeable, compassionate and professional.

“We thought that Teak Baker was someone that fit exactly what they were looking for,” Kelly said.

“He's dedicated and determined in everything he does.”

The award is given every year to only two EMS representatives by the EMSI, which is the governing and licensing authority for emergency medical services throughout the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania area.

He added that Baker is always focused on teamwork and interested in moving the organization forward in its abilities.

Baker, who has been working in the profession for about 20 years, joined the Cranberry EMS team about three years ago, he said. When he found out about the award, Baker said that it was “totally unexpected”

As one of the crew chiefs for the Cranberry EMS, Baker also leads the organization in its public relations efforts, with an emphasis on community outreach.

“We really try to grow and get tight-knit with the community,” said Baker, who was promoted to crew chief last fall.

In addition to responding to emergency service calls in the area, he helped spearhead the “viral of life” program.

An effort that is already in place in many other areas of the country, Baker thought it would also be beneficial to Cranberry residents.

In this program, residents are to document any important medical needs and information on paper and then place it in an empty pill box with a Cranberry EMS sticker on the front, storing it in their refrigerator, Baker said.

If there is ever a medical emergency call and this person is unable to communicate for whatever reason, the EMS crew knows where to find the “viral of life” container and become aware of any important medical needs before beginning treatment, he said.

Kelly said Baker also helped take “CPR to the next level” at their department.

Previously, Kelly said they only needed to offer CPR and First Aid certifications quarterly, but thanks partly to Baker's community outreach, they are now offering the courses bimonthly due to higher requests.

CPR American Heart Association certification course is now offered every “even” month on the third Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Cranberry EMS station for $30, Baker said.

Kelly, of Richmond Township, also said that even though Baker is very knowledgeable and experienced, that the crew chief is always looking to learn more and improve their organization through training and continuing education. Recently, he attended a five-day, hands-on child seat certification course with fellow EMS crew members.

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media.

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