Columbus paramedic named top EMT in the state
Columbus Fire Rescue’s Nick Jacobs is a quiet but constant presence on medical, fire, accident and other emergency scenes.
Turns out he is also one of the very best paramedics in the entire state, having just received the Career EMS Provider of the Year award from the Montana Emergency Care Systems and the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS). The award was presented last Thursday in Helena by Lt. Gov. Angela McLean and Jim DeTienne, the EMS and Trauma Systems supervisor for DPHHS.
The award is given annually to an emergency care provider who is exemplary in their quality of patient care and/or dedication to their community.
Jacobs is a perfect match to those qualities.
In a letter of nomination written by Stillwater Billings Clinic Dr. David Kane and RN Pam Prideaux-Leak, the pair describes Jacobs as a “top notch medic, inspires by example and education and is totally dedicated to those he serves in the Stillwater Community. We are lucky to have him.”
Of particular note in the pair’s letter was Jacobs’ role in bringing ALS (advanced life support) transport to Stillwater County.
“Before Nick came to Columbus as a medic we were happy with our BLS ground transport but often needed ALS services. Relying on Billings ALS for ground was difficult as it regularly took hours to transport our patients to a higher level of needed care. Nick’s goal of quality, 24/7, ALS care has been realized though his hard work. Our patients have benefitted tremendously and most community members don’t even know this,” the pair wrote in their nominating letter.
Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger expressed similar sentiments in his nomination letter.
“In his tenure as the EMS director he has helped move us from a BLS system to a single paramedic ALS (advanced life support) system to a multi paramedic ALS system that covers not only the Columbus response area (roughly 700 square miles) but also provides mutual aid to the rest of Stillwater County and parts of Yellowstone County,” Cowger wrote.
Upping the bar
Jacobs became the second paid staff member at Columbus Fire Rescue (CFR) in 2010 when he was hired to head up the EMS system just as it was merging its fire and ambulance service.
His title is battalion chief and he took the lead to become an instructor, putting on multiple EMT and Advanced EMT classes, bringing the total number of medically trained personnel on the fire department to 29 out of 56 members.
Jacobs also is involved in multiple community educational activities and makes himself available on his days off to help however it may be needed, said Cowger.
“He brings a huge amount of dedication and professionalism to the organization,” said Cowger, noting that even while being extremely ill, Jacobs continued with his paramedic training.
Jacobs, 31, is originally from Choteau and made his way to Columbus via Frenchtown then Billings, where he got his paramedic training. He first began working with Columbus on a mitigation crew in 2008.
The son of a fire fighter, Jacobs said he had pretty much known all his life that fire/EMS was what he wanted to do. When asked what he like the most about his work, he said “That it’s different every day.”
A humble man, Jacobs said he was completely surprised with the award.