Swords named new EMS director

1/24/2014

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

It didn't take long for Finney County to find another candidate to take over the Emergency Medical Services department after the initial choice backed out a couple of days earlier.

On Friday, the county announced Skylar Swords has accepted the job as EMS director, effective Jan. 27. Swords, one of three EMS shift supervisors, had been acting as interim co-director with Emergency Management coordinator Michael Paz-Torres for the past five-plus months.

"Finney County is excited to have Skylar as the new director of EMS, and we have confidence he has the leadership qualities needed for the department," Randy Partington, county administrator, said.

As EMS director, Swords will manage daily department operations, including training and educating current EMS staff. The director is under the direct supervision of the county administrator on matters related to personnel, budget and general operations.

A Finney County native, Swords grew up in Garden City, graduating from Garden City High School and Garden City Community College, where he earned an associate's degree in applied science-nursing and certification as a Mobile Intensive Care Technician (Paramedic). Swords is a certified field training officer with more than 12 years of experience as a street paramedic for Finney County, starting part time in 1999 and becoming full time in 2002.

As director, Swords said his goals are to continue to provide quality patient care and to increase the amount of public education EMS does for the community about things like CPR and other emergency-related services.

Swords is appreciative of the opportunity to lead the department.

"It took me a little while to come around to it. I didn't know if I was ready to leave the streets yet. But after looking at the situation, and where I wanted to go with it, I thought I could be effective in taking us there," he said.

Spending the past several months as co-director provided Swords good experience for the job.

"Being a director and being on the street are different jobs, so doing some of those duties the last several months has definitely given me an insight on procedures, how to get things done the right way so the administration and county commission can get what they need," Swords said.

Swords and his wife, Ora Swords, have three children, Ibby, 12, Koda, 8, and Tia, 7. He is the son of Dr. Ralph J. Swords, Jr., DVM, and Sue Swords of Garden City.

Last Tuesday, the county initially announced the hiring of Roger Richardson as EMS director, but Richardson retracted his acceptance of the position later that same day.

The director position has been open for five months. Former EMS Director Joe Hopkins resigned effective Aug. 9, 2013, after heading the department for three years. Seven people applied for the job, and four were interviewed.

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