Graham Kane

Meet Safety Hero Graham Kane: Clinical Specialist

Latest Safety Hero goes above and beyond in dedication to workplace health and safety in the face of COVID


We have written about Eagle County Paramedic Services before, and we are pleased to honor their Clinical Specialist, Graham Kane, as our newest Safety Hero.

Kane has worked at EC Paramedics for 23 years where he was the first Board Certified Flight and Critical Care Paramedic in 2009.

Since then, he has worked to improve the quality and capability of the organization’s critical care transport program ever since. He holds a B.S. in Paramedicine from Central Washington University and is a Licensed Paramedic with Critical Care Endorsement in the state of Colorado.

Katie Coakley, Communications, Marketing, and PIO for EC Paramedics, spoke to his strengths.

“As a Clinical Specialist, Kane is a data junkie, poring through countless studies, trials and reports to glean the most up-to-date and accurate information,” Coakley says.

During the pandemic, Kane was faced with making sense of data from a more challenging source: COVID-19. He served as the COVID expert for the district and took the job with appropriate seriousness.

“I applied a risk management framework I use as an avalanche forecaster, but [the framework] was originally developed in the financial world – the ISO 31000,” Kane says. “I spent some time cataloguing the known hazards, as well as our areas of uncertainty. I took that list and evaluated each hazard based on likelihood and potential impact, and then evaluated mitigation strategies for each.”

Beyond that, Kane monitored the organization’s safety program and frequently made additions and adjustments to his approach as the general understanding of COVID developed.

“I’d say it was a unique opportunity to apply my background in risk management, clinical medicine, and epidemiology all at once,” Kane says. “Within that, I curated the best sources of information available at the time.”

The effectiveness of Kane’s research and the new safety measures he was implementing was apparent to staff.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped set the safety standards and mandates that helped keep our EMTs and paramedics safe,” Coakley says. “One of these measures included creating a Google form that all employees filled out daily, tracking temperatures and symptoms in order to catch any possible contagion quickly.”

Kane’s measures, alongside the policies he helped to implement at this critical time, including those regarding PPE use and social distancing, resulted in keeping EC Paramedics’ employees COVID-free at work.

Following 2020, Kane’s preparation, buy-in, and dedication attracted attention. In 2021, EC Paramedics won the EMS Agency of the Year Award from CMRETAC, the Central Mountain Regional Emergency Trauma Advisory Council.

In the organization’s award nomination, recognition was given for their “incredible, community-wide impact they made during the epidemic,” and how they were an industry leader regarding their “proactive approach to the pandemic including activating the emergency preparedness plan, securing PPE, and coordinating communication.”

This same message is repeated over and over in regards to how EC Paramedics handled the pandemic: their methods work.

“We’ve kept our crews safe by being very, very proactive in keeping them from being infected from COVID and having some of these workplace exposures, we’ve been very diligent about making it as safe as possible for our environment,” says Will Dunn, Senior Manager of Clinical Services for EC Paramedics, quoted in The Vail Daily.

Although the toughest part of the pandemic may be in the past, for Graham Kane, the work is only beginning.

“As time has passed, he has continued to tirelessly keep up on disease trends and the emerging variants,” says Coakley. “Graham continues to manage and track all sick calls and possible COVID exposures at our agency.”

Kane has been an incredible resource for EC Paramedics whose approach can be seen as a model for similar organizations.

“I do believe that the common focus on safety revolves around complying with workplace safety mandates,” Kane says. “I would propose that provider and patient safety could be enhanced by having a team member complete some more advanced training in risk management, and applying that to their district’s unique operating environment.”

The COVID-19 pandemic was and continues to be an unknown, with differing accounts of transmission and severity. It is an enormous accomplishment that Kane was able to keep his District safe at the time when their community needed them most.

You can learn more about EC Paramedics at their website: eaglecountyparamedics.com

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Read about past Safety Heroes here.

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