Marc Pinkas

NNSS EMS captain volunteers own time to help workforce vaccination efforts

Marc Pinkas
NNSS EMS Captain Marc Pinkas

“Though it isn’t often discussed, members of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community are asked to uphold an oath. According the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, one of the primary tenets of its Code of Ethics for EMS Practitioners is: ‘To conserve life, alleviate suffering, promote health, do no harm, and encourage the quality and equal availability of emergency medical care.’ If anyone within the Southern Nevada EMS community embodies those qualities, it’s Captain Pinkas.” – NNSS Site Occupational Medical Director Dr. Alex Malone

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) EMS Captain Marc Pinkas has been looking for ways to use his skills to help.

“I wanted to do something,” he said.

But he quickly discovered that — amid a global pandemic — offering his medical skills to an organization with which he wasn’t previously affiliated isn’t as easy as he thought it would be.

Still, he kept an eye out, and when the NNSS’ Occupational Medicine (OccMed) team began offering vaccines to employees, he saw his chance.

On Jan. 7, 2021, the NNSS began offering the COVID-19 vaccine to employees in a tiered format, similar to the state’s. With the first few tiers covering first responders and several other employees whose work brings them out to the Site each day, the NNSS EMS team — based out of the Site’s two fire stations — were called upon to help administer vaccines to Site-based employees. Captain Pinkas was one of them.

During the process, Captain Pinkas quickly learned how much work is done behind the scenes to support COVID-19 vaccinations. Each inoculation requires extensive paperwork and data input, and the OccMed team would often work long hours to get everything completed in a timely manner.

“You take a look at all the people working at OccMed — they’re the unsung heroes,” said Captain Pinkas, who — as paramedic training captain on one of the NNSS Fire & Rescue team’s three platoons — works closely with OccMed on a regular basis.

As the NNSS’ supply of COVID-19 vaccinations became available to additional tiers of NNSS employees, OccMed began conducting regularly scheduled vaccine clinics — every Wednesday at the Site and every Thursday at the North Las Vegas Facility. Captain Pinkas saw a need he could fill.

There are many activities people plan for their days off. Coming back into work typically isn’t one of them.

Because Fire & Rescue personnel hours aren’t structured into a typical 40-hour workweek, Pinkas would often find himself off work during the Thursday North Las Vegas Facility clinics.

And so Captain Pinkas began volunteering at his own workplace.

“I’m not qualified to do the paperwork, but I’m qualified to administer vaccines,” he said. “It was something I could easily do to help them get a jump start on all the behind-the-scenes work they do when the clinics are over. On my days off, I’d call and say, ‘Could you use another hand?’”

His efforts for the sake of his fellow co-workers didn’t go unnoticed.

“Captain Marc Pinkas has been instrumental to the ongoing success of our vaccination efforts at the NNSS,” said NNSS Site Occupational Medical Director Dr. Alex Malone. “On numerous occasions, and out of the goodness of his heart, he volunteered his time and skill to help ensure the safety and well-being of our workforce. He did this on his days off and without any expectation or request for kudos or compensation.”

Contributing to the country’s national security mission as an NNSS employee since 2007, Captain Pinkas serves as a paramedic responding to emergency medical calls as needed and also oversees EMS continuing education for his platoon. Additionally, he conducts all of OccMed’s CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support courses.

In addition to providing emergency response services to the 1,355-square-mile NNSS, the F&R team also provides ongoing life safety response 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout Nye County.

For more about the NNSS F&R team, click here.