Lawrence E. Tan, Esq., NRP, the commanding officer of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division in the Department of Public Safety announced his retirement after 37+ years of service.
This afternoon, officials held a “walking out” ceremony to wish Chief Tan a final farewell as he steps into future endeavors. The event, held in front of the New Castle County Public Safety Building, was attended by officials, firefighters, police officers, dispatchers, and many others that have served with the Chief over the years.
Chief Tan started his EMS career as a volunteer firefighter/EMT while in high school. He was appointed to the service in 1982 as an Ambulance Cardiac Technician, and has served at all levels of the organization, including Paramedic, EMS Lieutenant, Emergency Services Assistant Manager, Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief. He was the first person to be officially designated as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for New Castle County EMS, and developed the media relations program for the paramedic service. His executive staff assignments have included commands on both the administrative and operational components of the agency. He was instrumental in guiding the New Castle County Paramedics to become the first EMS agency in Delaware to achieve national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) in December 2009. The EMS Division was also the first advanced life support (ALS) intercept agency to ever complete the CAAS accreditation process.
Chief Tan assisted in the development of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program that integrated county paramedics into the New Castle County Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. He served as a tactical paramedic and SWAT medic team leader following implementation of the program. Tan also served on a special Homeland Operations Detail within the Office of the New Castle County Executive. The special group designed a comprehensive emergency management plan for crisis operations by the New Castle County Government during community-wide or regional emergency situations.
Chief Tan received his paramedic education from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated in 1982 after completion of a field internship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and received an Associate of Science degree in Emergency Medical Sciences. He attended Wilmington University, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources Management. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Widener University School of Law and has been admitted to practice law by the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the United States District Court of New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Chief Tan received a national scholarship to attend the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government in June 2008.
Chief Tan has been a member of the National Faculty for the Counter Narcotics and Terrorism Operations Medical Support (CONTOMS) Program conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service and United States Park Police. He serves on the federal InterAgency Board (IAB) for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability as a member of the Health, Medical and Responder Safety SubGroup and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate First Responder Working Group. He is a member of the Delaware EMS Oversight Council (DEMSOC), which is responsible for monitoring the performance of the state’s emergency medical services system. Tan previously served two terms as a member of the FEMA Region III Regional Advisory Committee. He was also a member of the Steering Committee for the National EMS Culture of Safety Strategy Project that released its final report to the National EMS Advisory Committee in 2013.
In 2008, Chief Tan received a Congressional appointment to the National Commission on Children and Disasters. The independent Commission was charged with conducting a comprehensive study to examine and assess the needs of children as they relate to preparation for, response to, and recovery from all hazards, including major disasters and emergencies. The Commission delivered the final report to the President and Congress in 2010.
Chief Tan is a founding member, Past President and Director Emeritus of the International Association of EMS Chiefs (IAEMSC), a non-profit professional association with a mission to support, promote and advocate for the emergency medical services profession. He has provided testimony to Congress, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) committees and the Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS) on behalf of the association and the EMS profession.
Chief Tan has received several awards and commendations from both the Department of Public Safety and other organizations. He has presented at several regional and national conferences for emergency medical services and emergency management professionals.