10/22/06 — Duplin names director for EMS

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Duplin names director for EMS

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 22, 2006 2:01 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County has a new director who will oversee the county's ambulance services and other emergency medical operations.

Emergency Services Director Craig Forlines introduced new emergency medical services director Brian Pearce to the board of commissioners last week.

Pearce will make sure the county's 72 full-time employees follow the 82 pages of laws and regulations as they answer the 6,800 emergency transport calls the county responds to each year.

He will replace Curtis Brock who resigned in May amidst controversy involving the county and Johnston Ambulance Service. He and former JAS employee Barbara Coman were charged in July with two misdemeanors -- illegally accessing Johnston's computers and computer trespassing.

Brock also was named in the JAS lawsuit, along with Ms. Coman and Duplin County, after he and county Commissioner Larry Howard were allegedly recorded by Dr. Thomas Hunter, owner of Coastline Care, as they discusssed ways to force JAS out of the county.

Forlines said Pearce's hiring comes at a good time for the county.

"I have five functional areas I'm responsible for (911, fire, emergency medical services, emergency management and addressing), and I was working a 70- to 75-hour work week to make up the difference. This will allow me to return to a normal work week. It's a much-needed position," he said.

It's a post that Pearce, 32, is well-qualified for, Forlines continued.

"He was the best candidate for the position. All his credentials stood out," he said.

Pearce comes to Duplin from Cumberland County where he began his career in emergency services 13 years ago, starting in the Eastover Fire Department.

He continued his emergency services training while attending North Carolina State University, where he majored in industrial engineering. While there, he received his emergency medical technician -- basic, intermediate and paramedic certifications. He also became an instructor for Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Life Support, Basic Trauma Life Support and N.C. Level I Paramedic.

Since then he has continued his education at Fayetteville State University, working toward his master's degree in business administration with a concentration in healthcare management.

Working for Cumberland County EMS, he has served as a field training officer, an education coordintor and a district supervisor. He also has participated on the tactical special operations team and on the urban search and rescue team.

With the Eastover Fire Department, he has worked as the assistant chief in charge of administration, paid personnel and finances. He also assisted the department in becoming a state-certified rescue squad, providing heavy rescue, high angle and water rescue services.

He is a certified N.C. Level II fire instructor, qualified to teach emergency vehicle driver, live fire control, driver operator and HAZMAT courses. He also is a certified Emergency Rescue Technician, with specialties in trench rescue, confined space rescue, vehicle machinery rescue and structural collapse.

He will earn $47,584 per year.

"It's the ability to help other people," Pearce said of his interest in emergency services. "It takes a certain kind of person who enjoys the adrenaline and those kinds of situations, (but) a lot of my experience for the last six years with the fire department was administrative, so I enjoy both.

"I don't think I'll stay in the office all the time. I told them when I interviewed that I was looking for a way to share and help the system as whole become better. One of my first goals is to hire a training officer (Jeremy Hill resigned in July), but I still do want to teach in some way."

Right now, though, he's focused on learning about the county and about the system already in place -- and he's not worried about the lawsuit.

"That hasn't been presented to me and I do not see that it would affect me at all," Pearce said. "Everything I have heard from the people in Duplin County has been very positive about the EMS system and it seems to me they have a good system in place.

"I don't believe the curent system is broken, so I'm not looking to come in and make any fixes."