Cavalier County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) has found a new director for the ambulance squad in recent transplant to North Dakota Christopher South, CCP. Becoming a Critical Care Provider (CCP) was not his original plan for life, but after finding his mother unresponsive from an overdose, he never wanted to feel helpless like that again.
South began his EMT training fresh out of high school after losing his mother in 1995. South, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, moved to Hettinger in the fall of 2018 following the decision to find something different than what he was used to. He worked for several months as the Emergency Services Supervisor for their ambulance squad.
“North Dakota is definitely different from Birmingham, weather-wise anyway, and I just kind of came up here,” South shared.
During that time, South was giving his presentation “Dead Inside” which discusses the darker aspects of being an EMT and why mental health of those in the field is so important. He gave his presentation in Langdon in October of 2019 and immediately hit it off with many of the emergency services personnel in attendance. A short time later, South applied for the ambulance director position with CCMH.
“They called me up, and I came and interviewed and- ta da- here I am,” South quipped.
For South, being on the management side of the ambulance squad has been a bit different to what he is used to. He believes that his job as the director is to be a resource for the squad.
“When they need something, they know they can come to me and that I’ll take care of it. I’m the guy that will always have their back,” South said. “That’s what I’m supposed to do. I just have a bunch of paperwork that goes along with it.”
So far, South has “absolutely loved” the job since his start date in the position of January 6. Over his career in EMS, the duties are fairly universal, but the implementation of those duties is different from the big city of Birmingham compared to the small town, rural set up of Langdon. The dynamic of the small town and learning experiences have appealed to South as there is good involvement from the staff but also good involvement from the community.
“I love the team here; they all get along great. They work together well, and they are all about the mission which is doing right by the community,” South said.
One of the ways that South wants to improve community involvement is through training. Much of his background is with education - having opportunities to learn about health and getting more community involvement. From training courses like the upcoming Emergency Vehicle Operators Course set for Saturday, April 4 right here in Langdon to more fun events like the Langdon Ambulance Trivia Night Fundraiser on Saturday, April 18. Bigger efforts are also in the works as South has a goal to have every community in Cavalier County be a Cardiac Ready Community. While there are certain mandates that they will need to meet, South believes this will be a big step forward.
“We want our community to be better prepared cardiovascularly,” South said.
With so many plans and ideas for the future, CCMH has found a great new director for their ambulance squad and for the area.