Robert “Robbie” Murray has been appointed as the next director of Sussex County Emergency Medical Services, the county-run paramedic system that complements local fire and ambulance companies during acute emergency calls. Murray, currently serving as deputy director of administration, will take over for retiring Director Robert Stuart at the end of July.
The appointment was made official at the July 14 Sussex County Council meeting.
As director, Murray will lead more than 100 paramedics and roughly a dozen support staff in one of the largest departments in county government. Sussex County EMS is a nationally accredited, non-transporting service, operating 11 full-time units with paramedics who provide advanced life support care around the clock, 365 days a year, throughout the county.
“I’m honored to be given this opportunity by the county council to lead some of the most compassionate and gifted paramedics you will find anywhere,” Murray said. “Our paramedics are some of the best in the country.”
Murray, a native of Frankford, has a long and distinguished career with Sussex County EMS, joining the organization in its early years, in 1994, as a paramedic. He rose through the ranks as a field training officer, training coordinator, operations manager, deputy director of operations and deputy director of administration. He was named Paramedic of the Year in 1999, and earned other distinctions in 2000, 2003 and 2018.
During his tenure, Murray has been a leading voice within the organization to develop a continuing education curriculum that ensures paramedics are trained on the latest urgent care medical protocols and standards. He has also worked with local fire companies and police agencies to coordinate planning and training for mass casualty and active assailant incidents.
Murray has been a member of the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company since 1988, serving as a chief line officer, fire chief, and most recently president.
Murray praised his predecessor, and said he is looking forward to carrying through and expanding on several projects and programs that started in earnest under Stuart’s leadership, including the county’s transition from co-located units in local fire companies to free-standing paramedic stations. A new facility, the fifth, is under construction near Seaford.
Other initiatives include planning for and relocating the department’s main offices and training center to new space at the county Emergency Operations Center, as well as ensuring the department maintains its national accreditation, achieved earlier this year.
Stuart, who will retire July 31 after 29 years of service, joined SCEMS in 1990 as a student in the department’s inaugural year. He has served in several roles, including paramedic, quality and training manager, deputy director, and director since 2010.
Among his achievements during his directorship, Stuart pointed to SCEMS being recognized in 2011 with the Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year Award, earning the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services certification in early 2020, but most importantly having a staff that exemplifies the organization’s motto each and every day.
“I’ve been fortunate to be part of an amazing system that has grown from 12 employees and one unit to a system of 11 units staffed by 118 medics,” Stuart said. “I know SCEMS will continue to excel and be a national leader in ALS under the leadership of Director Murray.”