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Share your Story: Brian Hambek

by Pamela M. on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Most 14 year old kids are not looking for CPR and First Aid certification unless directed that way through organizations like Boy Scouts and that’s where it started for me. I was proud to put a CPR Certification card in my wallet not knowing where it would take me.

On a Saturday morning when I was 15 years old, I answered a call from our neighbor who was calling to talk to my mom who had just received her certification as an EMT. The frantic call was made because her husband was choking on a bay leaf and turning blue. I ran through the back yard and jumped the fence entering the back door to the kitchen where I found Bill grasping his throat. I did abdominal thrust 6 times when the bay leaf totally occluded the airway and on the 7th thrust it popped out. That experience showed me that I wanted to pursue a healthcare field. I loved the idea that I could help other people in a medical emergency.

I started my career at 16 years old by becoming certified as an EMT while still in high school and furthered my education with the United States Air Force as a medical technician and EMS Instructor.  I have been involved in Emergency Medical Services for over 33 years now. 

My career in emergency medicine has provided me with many diverse experiences, including experience with military medicine, paid and volunteer EMS agencies, and fire, search & rescue services.  Currently, I am a NREMT-Paramedic, Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Paramedic (CCEMTP), and the Executive Director of Spearfish Emergency Ambulance Service in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.  I also designed and am the Director of a unique ambulance cadet program, the Spearfish Ambulance Volunteer Explorers or S.A.V.E. Program.  I continue to promote Emergency Services and quality medical training as well as leadership training to the youth in the Northern Hills area. 

In addition, I hold many instructor certifications and am currently Regional Faculty for AHA in the Dakota Region as well as the past ECC Chairman.  In my spare time, as a disabled veteran, I am the Rider Director for the American Legion Riders – Black Hills Chapter and I help to promote veteran support and services. I am grateful that the one experience when I was 15 years old led me to a career in emergency medicine, and I encourage the youth of South Dakota to explore emergency medicine as a fulfilling career goal. 

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