Ky. Firefighters Credit ALS Training for High Save Rates

Ky. Firefighters Credit ALS Training for High Save Rates

News Nov 20, 2017

Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Nov. 20—Officials with the Owensboro Fire Department say advanced life support training curricula they received in September may be contributing to unusually high save rates for medical calls in the city.

For the month of October, crews staffed with trainees were able to successfully resuscitate 83 percent of the time, compared to an 11 percent national average.

That's remarkable, says Fire Chief Steve Mitchell, but it gets better. The Station 3 third-shift engine crew on the city's northwest side is often regarded as one of the busiest in the city, and it saved 100 percent of cardiac and respiratory arrest victims during that month.

"Our interventions have gone to the next level," Mitchell said. "It's better than we ever could have expected."

The department partnered with the Air Evac Lifeteam out of Evansville and Yellow Ambulance, the region's contracted paramedic service provider, to provide Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) training in late September for a team of about 10 local firefighters.

Almost 20 years ago, the city made it mandatory that all new firefighters become emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, certified to provide basic life support procedures such as CPR. A few years after that, a study found the department could reach calls, on average, a minute and 30 seconds faster than any ambulance service provider could, so fire crews were dispatched to all medical calls in the city in addition to their regular fire and rescue duties.

Now, at least 87 percent of all calls an Owensboro station receives are medically related, said Station 3 Lt. Trey Davidson.

"That extra minute and a half makes a difference," he said. "It really puts it into perspective for you when it's a matter of life or death."

Davidson was part of the team that received the advanced pediatric training and his third-shift crew, including firefighters Luke Cecil, Justin Floridia and Easton Weathers, saved all five of five cardiac and respiratory arrest victims last month. The training was tailored to children, but the hands-on experience and diagnostic thinking skills firefighters were exposed to was invaluable, he said.

Continue Reading

EMTs differ from paramedics largely because of the advanced medications and diagnostic algorithms with which the latter is trained. Too often, he said, that can mean a firefighter—who more than often gets to the scene first—can only provide CPR or oxygen until a paramedic arrives.

"But the more exposure we have to what a paramedic is going to do can let us start thinking ahead," he said. "The PALS training got us thinking deeper. OK, so a guy is having chest pains. Let's start thinking diagnostically as early as possible."

The 100 percent save rate isn't going to last forever, and the third-shift guys at Station 3 are well aware of that. Sadly, resuscitations can sometimes seem more like an exception, they say, and it can be hard to wrap the mind around so many lost lives. Cecil said the men he works with are some of his closest friends. They are like brothers, he said, who react without a moment's hesitation to save others or each other before themselves.

Staying emotionally unattached can be harder than any amount of physical training he undergoes, he added.

"We're with people on the worst days of their lives almost every day," he said. "You have to keep your head out of it, because, yeah, it's hard. Of course it's hard."

Crews do what they can to cut through emotionally difficult times with humor—sort of turning off the mind, Weathers said. But more training could mean fewer of those times and more saved lives in the community he lives in and loves.

"We're proud to do it," he said. "Teamwork is everything, and we're teaming up to save lives."

Source
McClatchy
Austin Ramsey
The new fire station would have housed another ambulance, two more firefighters, and be able to fit modern fire trucks to fit the needs of the growing town.
For the first time since 1995, Starkville Fire Department hired a female firefighter, Bethany Allen, who is working on completing her fire academy and EMT training.
To better understand and treat the patients they revive with Narcan, firefighter-EMTs received training on opioid abuse and recovery
The collaboration supports rural healthcare providers with the goal of improving patient outcomes in Kansas through the Redivus mobile clinical decision app.
Children and young adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes could be up to seven times more likely to die from sudden cardiac arrest than those who don't have diabetes.
Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Sander B. Cohen and Supervisory Special Agent Carlos Wolff were struck and killed Friday on I-270 after Cohen stopped to help Wolff after crashing his car.
Ticket sales from the Jets' recent home game will partially fund EMSCNJ's new 9/11 monument in Keansburg, NJ.
The 'Flying Eye Hospital' features exam equipment and an operating room and travels to developing countries to treat patients with blindness or eye diseases.
Allina Health EMS welcomes newcomers Joan Mellor as Director of External Affairs and Jim Soukup as the Communication Center Director.
Delray Beach wants artists to paint murals on the unsightly garbage trucks being used to barricade large outdoor events in light of the increased use of vehicles as weapons to plow into crowds.
Police have suspect Akayed Ullah in custody, who was badly injured by the bomb he detonated that injured 3 others in the Port Authority bus terminal.
Time is brain, and the Lucid System, which will eventually be tested in ambulances, could save valuable time when diagnosing and treating stroke victims.
Ben Abbott, a two-year member of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, is mentoring his new crew member James Hubbard.
Team Rubicon, a nonprofit group composed of military veterans, first responders, and doctors, has 229 volunteers deployed in Puerto Rico, where health conditions among citizens are worsening.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy said two of the four passengers were not able to be rescued when the plane became engulfed in flames.