Polk first responders awarded Region C honors

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

911 operators, sheriff’s officers receive awards for excellence

COLUMBUS — Polk County employees were recently given Region C awards for extraordinary efforts during the May mudslides and September’s World Equestrian Games.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and recognized 911 operators Kristy Bradley and Roman Scruggs for receiving the Tele-communicator Excellency During a Natural Disaster Award and Sgt. Ryan Lail and Deputy Paul Fousek for receiving the Law Enforcement Performing Life Saving Measures Award.

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The awards were given to the Polk employees from Region C last month.

Polk County Sheriff’s Officers Ryan Lail and Paul Fousek received Region C awards for life saving measures during the World Equestrian Games after saving a man who went into cardiac arrest. Pictured are Fousek, Lail and Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill at Monday’s Polk County Board of Commissioner meeting. (Photo by Leah Justice/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

Polk County Communications Director James McGuinn presented the awards during the commissioner’s meeting.

On May 18, just before an evening shift change, a strong storm moved over Polk County, dumping over 20 inches of rain on the county in just 24 hours, McGuinn said.

“The storm caused alarm activations, flooding, downed trees, power lines, rescues and evacuations, which required response from fire, rescue, EMS and law enforcement from Polk and other counties,” he said.

McGuinn told commissioners that several homes were washed off their foundations, and one home was swept off its foundation by a landslide and a female occupant was trapped, which turned into a lengthy operation.

James McGuinn

On shift that night were part-time telecommunicators Scruggs and Bradley.

The telecommunicators contacted senior staff for additional help and were hampered due to poor cell service and incoming call overload, McGuinn said. McGuinn said a third person was in the center and two others were on the way to the back up center in Green Creek by 9:47 p.m. Between 7-11 p.m., they answered 323 administrative and 911 calls, with only 44 calls rolling over to Rutherford County’s 911 center, McGuinn said.

Another Region C award was presented to Lail and Fousek for their efforts saving a man at WEG, held in September.

On Sept. 16, while working WEG in the middle of wind and rain from Hurricane Florence, the officers were patrolling the grounds of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, where the event took place, and came upon a man working with a private security team.

“The subject was having chest pains, and Sgt. Lail called for medical assistance,” McGuinn said. “While event dispatch was getting a medical team started to Barn 6, Lail called back and stated the subject had gone into cardiac arrest and he needed an AED and CPR was in progress.”

Lail and Fousek were the ones who initiated CPR on the patient and because of their efforts, the patient survived, McGuinn said.