The 69th Annual International Rescue & Emergency Care Association Conference and Challenges was held this past June in Champaign, Illinois in conjunction with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI). Educational seminars and the Basic Life Support challenge was held at the Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites, while the First Response Rescue & Technical Rescue challenge was held at IFSI.

Teams from Chevron Phillips Chemicals’ Cedar Bayou (Baytown, Texas), Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Phillips66 Bayway (Linden, New Jersey), Sweeny Complex (Sweeny, Texas), Valero Meraux (Meraux, Lousiana), and high school students from Osseo (MN) Senior High’s Opportunities in Emergency Care (OEC) program competed for awards in this years’ challenge events. Uniquely, for the second year in a row, a team of high school students competed in the First Response Rescue - a fusion of Basic Life Support & Technical Rescue concepts.

This year’s Technical Rescue challenge event spanned two days and featured excellent competition between 7-person teams. Taking the first place trophy this year was Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge, followed by Sweeny Complex and Phillips66 Bayway taking second & third place, respectively. Ronnie Thompson of Sweeny Complex took home the “Best Medic” award and Rhett Lormand of Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge took home the “Best Captain” award.

The First Response Rescue Challenge featured a number of smaller, 4-person, rescue teams and showcased a great deal of rescue and BLS talent. Taking the first place trophy was Valero Meraux Red, followed closely by Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge #1 and Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge #2 in second & third place, respectively.


The Basic Life Support challenge featured two adult teams and 5 youth teams. In the adult division, Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge’s “LA Rescue” took first place and Valero Meraux’s BLS teams took second place.

Earning the high test score among the adult teams was Dylon Rykosky of Valero Meraux. In the youth division, Osseo OEC’s “Code Black” took first place, while Osseo OEC’s “The Unknown” and “Code Blue” took second and third place, respectively. The high test score among the youth competitors went to Giang Nguyen of Osseo OEC, while the Spirit of Competition award went to Jenny Dimitroff.

New this year, a “Best Patient” award was given to Karen Egerter, who served as a victim and assistant for multiple events throughout the week-long conference. She was presented with the trophy at the Saturday night awards banquet.

Also new this year was a “Rump Roast Challenge” which featured participants pitted against a 5 pound pot roast, used to simulate an actively bleeding body part which the participant must stop by applying direct pressure and “packing” the wound. This challenge event follows an educational session by Rob Pearson of North Memorial Health over a similar topic of bleeding control.

The winner of the Rump Roast Challenge was Ben Bell of Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge. Finally, the Association’s “Max Spray Award” was awarded to Erwin Villar from Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge, in part for his contributions to the success of the Basic Life Support challenge, stepping in last year as the interim Challenge Chair and this year taking the Challenge Chair title on permanently.

The 70th Annual International Rescue & Emergency Care Association Conference & Challenges will be held the week of June 25, 2018 in Boise, ID. We look forward to again having record numbers of teams & participants!