DENTON — Mark Sheridan is the new director of Emergency Services for Caroline County. This vital job responds to roughly 7,000 calls a year. His journey began in 1986 as volunteer in Laurel, Del.
He graduated from paramedic school in 1992 and started his career with Sussex County. He received the Valor Award in 2005 for saving three teenagers from a burning car at an automobile accident while he was off duty. He has worked for 27 years at Sussex County EMS. He has worked his way through the ranks from deputy fire chief, assistant fire chief and fire chief with Laurel Fire Department.
He has remained committed to his studies even while working. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Fire Protection Management from Eastern Kentucky University. He has a master’s in Safety, Security and Emergency Management from Eastern Kentucky University.
“I have a huge EMS background. We don’t have hospital here in Caroline, so we have a divert program here where you get diverted to other hospitals. It takes 30 minutes on a good day to get people to the hospital,” Sheridan said.
He said, “I have dedicated my life to serving in public safety. I have been working with staff at Caroline County over the past three weeks. My plan is to meet with each shift and ride with the EMS and with the Emergency Management Team. I look forward to the challenges of serving as the director of Emergency Services for Caroline County. One team, one mission, one goal.”
He said, “My values include communication, dependability, integrity, loyalty and trust.”
Sheridan believes these will lead his team to perform at higher levels.
“When I was hired here, I asked to keep my paramedic. We run out of trucks quick here. It’s all hands on deck. That’s great because I don’t want to drive a desk for eight hours a day. I love being out with the crews,” he said.
As Emergency Services director, he also is the emergency manager of the 911 center. The 911 center takes the emergency calls and assigns the appropriate ambulance. The county has ambulances and so do the volunteer fire departments.
“We have five ambulances that do two 24-hour shifts. There is a Narcan leave behind program we are trying to implement here. This is where we treat a patient with Narcan and then leave behind some Narcan. The bottom line is that it can save a loved one,” he said.
He enjoys coming to work every day because there is always something different. “I don’t know if I am going to be dealing with an EMS issue or the 911 center or something in emergency management. It’s a very dynamic job,” he said.
One of the challenges with Caroline County is that for the last four years it has not had a structured training program.
“What I really want to institute is to hire a training officer for the entire program, so that we are always training and we are always keeping up with new things — make sure we are staying sharp with our skills and our knowledge. I would like to have a core competency throughout the department so that we have a standard. Deliver all our education in house,” he said.
Another interesting part of his job is emergency planning, looking across the county for potential hazards. He is in the process of rewriting a 400-page manual. The 911 center is also responsible for the dispatching of the police.
“All the municipal police, we dispatch for them and the county sheriffs,” he said.
“We are living in a really violent society. Even the police are getting attacked, and that is moving over into EMS. So, my biggest concern is their safety. At the end of the day, I want them to go home to their families,” he said.
“We don’t run lights running from the scene to the hospital if the patient is stable. Studies have been done that you don’t pick up that much time running the lights and sirens,” he said.
Sheridan has a boyish excitement about the job.
“I really like going out on calls. That crew isn’t used to me coming out on calls. It is all hands on deck. I am a paramedic first. It’s not going unnoticed. The crews think it is great,” he said.
Sheridan lives in Laurel and recently got engaged. He has a daughter, a son-in-law and one grandson.