Chuck Kearns, MBA, Paramedic, A-EMD, is chief executive officer of Southside Fire/EMS and Security in Savannah, Georgia. Chuck has been involved in public safety and EMS for over 30 years. Born in New York City, he began his career as a Florida open-water lifeguard in 1981, became Chief of the County Beach Patrol and was certified as an EMT two years later. He has spent much of his EMS career as a paramedic and EMS System Manager in Pinellas County, Fla., with Sunstar Paramedics. He rose to Director of Pinellas County Emergency and Public Safety Services (Fire, EMS & EMS Communications Services Administrator), where he served over 11 years. He has also been certified as an Advanced Emergency Medical Dispatcher (A-EMD) for 16 years and a rescue diver since 1989.
Chuck has consulted widely and worked in several different EMS system models, and has been involved with a large private ambulance provider in the Midwest. He has worked in government, private, hospital-based, rural and volunteer public safety agencies, and in positions spanning from basic life support first responder to underwater search & rescue dive team leader, to Flight Paramedic. Chuck has deployed to numerous hurricane and wildfire disasters since 1992 and frequently staffed an Emergency Operations Center command desk during disaster Activations. He has been involved in leadership positions of many EMS and emergency management organizations. He served as a site reviewer, standards revision project manager and board member for the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS). He also served two terms on the American Ambulance Association Board of Directors and was a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Culture of Safety Steering Committee. He spent six years on the Board of the American Heart Association Florida-Puerto Rico Affiliate and has been a board member of two hospitals.
Chuck is the recipient of many awards, including the Florida EMS Lifetime Achievement Award, a Meritorious Service Award for wildfires mitigation from Florida’s Governor, and a lifesaving award from former President Ronald Reagan for rescuing five people who were drowning. Chuck was appointed to two, four-year terms on the Florida EMS Advisory Council and served as its chairman. He was on the FEMA National Advisory Council and has served on the editorial advisory board member for EMS World Magazine since 2001. Chuck is a professional (Paramedic) member of the National Association of EMS Physicians and serves on two committees. He is a dynamic, dedicated and tireless advocate for EMS practitioners and issues affecting EMS. In addition to his EMS knowledge and experience, Chuck attended law school and holds an MBA degree in Marketing and Information Systems Management.