In 1998, the Missouri Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services enacted the comprehensive emergency services act, which led to new laws and standard regulations. This act allowed the formation of the emergency medical response agencies and EMS committees to be licensed in Missouri.
In order to obtain these licenses, it was important to have a medical director who met the qualifications in those standards. Marshfield Fire Chief Michael Taylor knew exactly who to call — Dr. Sam Alexander.
“Dr. Alexander has served in a volunteer position in a medical director for the Marshfield Fire Department and the Marshfield Fire Protection District since Aug. 26, 1999,” Taylor said. “Under his direction, thousands of emergency medical calls have been answered by Marshfield fire personnel, and countless lives have been saved.”
Through Alexander’s direction, the Marshfield Fire Department was able to obtain licensure with the Missouri Bureau of EMS as an emergency medical response agency, which increased the level of care to advanced life support, making it possible for paramedic level care. Also, Alexander helped MFD in achieving licensure as an emergency medical service trainer through the Missouri Bureau of EMS, providing an opportunity for the citizens of Marshfield, the MFD, and other surrounding communities to receive EMT and EMR training locally.
“This has led to the training and subsequent licensure of dozens of EMTs and emergency medical first responders that have helped those in need in our community,” Taylor said.
As the medical director, Alexander demonstrated belief in EMS providers and that they should have the strong protocols in the best available equipment to do their jobs. Most recently, he approved standing orders that allowed the Marshfield Fire Department to provide medical care to children every year during the Boy Scout summer camp program at Camp Arrowhead in Marshfield. During the recognition night, Mayor Robert Williams, City Administrator John Benson, Senator Mike Cunningham and Missouri Fire Marshal Tim Dean also highlighted Alexander’s accomplishments and contributions to the department.
Alexander shared more about his appreciation for the fire personnel and volunteers who serve the community every day. He said he thinks fondly of Webster County, which is very similar to where he lives. Alexander lives in Stockton but grew up in Maries County. He was raised in a dairy family, and his father trained him not only on the farm, but also in mechanic work. Since medical school was expensive, he worked as a mechanic to pay his way through school. In Maries County, when he was high school, Alexander said they didn’t have an ambulance or volunteers to take care of people.
“The care that was given to them was someone would load them up and haul them to the hospital,” Alexander said. “The majority of the counties it was that way, and it may have been that way in Webster County. Funeral homes had an ambulance, and they provided the best that we had at the time, but it was really lacking.”
While things have changed now, Alexander said none of it would be possible without the individuals who volunteer their time and service.
“Most of the public at large doesn’t realize the work that’s done by our first responders,” Alexander said. “I appreciate what they do, and that’s why I do what I do.”
This story originally appeared in the Marshfield Mail, a sister paper to the Republican.