First responders gather for growth

For the seventh year, emergency care responders will gather for a robust curriculum of classes and speakers covering every facet of emergency care.
The annual Uintah Basin Emergency Care Conference began in 2016 to fill a need for Basin first responders. This year’s conference is being held at the Uintah Conference Center Feb. 10-11.
The conference is the only one of its kind designed to educate every field of first responder and emergency worker. The conference includes classes for firefighters, law enforcement, hospital workers and physicians, EMS and EMT workers, and more.
Heidi Lundberg, Uintah County emergency manager, said that they always try to bring new and relevant topics to the conference in order to give emergency workers the best opportunity for education and growth.
This year the conference will include a keynote address from Dave Cawley, investigative journalist from KSL News Radio and host of the viral podcast COLD. Court McGee will also give a keynote address.
McGee is a professional MMA fighter who won Spike TV’s 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter. He actively speaks for anti-drug campaigns and will be speaking about that topic at the conference.
Cory Oaks, who works for Classic Air and has been in emergency care for a long time will be speaking on how to give the best care possible in more rural settings, a topic of particular interest in the Basin.
Justin Boardman, a retired detective, will be returning to the conference to give a keynote address as well. Echo Sheffer, chief of Jensen Fire, shared that Boardman has become a conference favorite.
“He has so much knowledge and so many topics that he could share about so we love to have him speak,” said Sheffer.
The conference will include many breakout classes and will continue another conference favorite, team challenges. This year it will have a fire skills challenge, a law enforcement challenge, and an escape room/mega-code type challenge testing medical skill.
Teams of four can compete against other teams with the winners rewarded with bragging rights and a shiny trophy.
Scott Adams, director of operations at Gold Cross Ambulance, said the conference is really great for emergency workers and caregivers but also would greatly benefits anyone who works in, or with, the community and could encounter different types of emergency situations.
“It’s a really great way for providers to renew their love for learning, become more educated, confident and involved, and challenge assumptions about what we already know,” said Adams.
He also said that one of the greatest benefits of the conference is the relationships emergency providers are able to develop over the span of the two days.
Heidi Lundberg and Echo Sheffer shared similar sentiments. All three echoed one another in stating that when you build relationships and camaraderie with other emergency care workers in your area you are better able to serve your community.
“You’ll know those who arrive on a scene with you and you’ll know who is able to provide what resources at any given moment,” Sheffer said. “You’ll also be able to better communicate and remain calm in any situation because you’ll already know those working beside you.”
The conference is free for everyone because of several very involved sponsors who have stepped in to ensure that the conference is not only be great, but readily accessible to all emergency care providers, many of whom are volunteers.
Those sponsors include Ashley Regional Medical Center, Uintah Sheriff’s office, Uintah, Daggett and Duchesne Counties, Gold Cross Ambulance, the TriCounty Health Department, Lifeflight, Classic Air, Uintah Fire District, Ferno, Shawn Cooper and more.
Lee Buschkowsky, a Safety and Occupational Health Manager for the National Parks Service, has been involved with the conference since its beginnings and says it couldn’t be done without collaboration. “This conference is put on by such a wide variety of private entities and local, state and federal agencies,” he said. “If it wasn’t for everyone contributing it would be a tough thing for just one organization to do. It takes a lot of folks with different backgrounds and many of them are volunteering to do it outside of their normal responsibilities.”
Attendees are encouraged to register beforehand so that conference sponsors can have accurate counts for prizes, food and more. Visit for more details about the conference and to register.