Training an Important Element of Partnership

In 2016 alone, Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department (MFRD) responded to more than 2,600 ambulance calls within City limits. Additionally, they interfaced more than 330 patients outside of City limits with the help of Emergency Medical Responders (EMR).

Formerly known as “First Responders,” EMR are the first on the scene in an emergency situation outside city limits. They begin life saving measures such as CPR to help keep the patient stable until paramedics arrive.

To better assist in emergency situations, paramedics with Marshfield Fire & Rescue undergo trainings with other area departments. This involves bringing an ambulance to the townships and going through the equipment inside, so that EMR’s are better able to quickly access equipment.

Participants also review any new equipment that the department is using and ask any questions they may have. Additionally, the trainings provide an opportunity for the departments to get to know one another, something that helps during an emergency situation.

So far, the department has trained with Chili Fire Department, Cameron Fire Department (which does not have EMR services, but does have a fire service), and this week they worked with Richfield Rural Fire Department.

“My goal is to go out to all departments,” said Jonathan Altman, a firefighter/paramedic with MFRD. “It’s a way for EMR’s to get used to our equipment and make sure they know how it works.”

“It is important for Richfield Rural Fire Department members to do interdepartmental training with Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department EMS so that we are prepared to work together on emergency scenes,” added Josh Sabo, Deputy Chief/EMS Service Director at Richfield Rural Fire Department. “MFRD responds to our township for all medical calls and any accident calls with injuries.”

After paramedics arrive on a scene, EMR’s continue to assist by fetching equipment, and are even trained to set up the “jaws of life” extrication equipment.

“They are a trained set of hands that can assist us with some basic tasks,” said Altman. “They start care and then we show up and take over care at the paramedic level.”

“It is very important that our members know what equipment MFRD carries on their ambulances and where the equipment is located so that we can quickly retrieve it if needed on a scene,” said Sabo. “When time is of the essence on the scene, this interdepartmental training can pay huge dividends for the patient. This training also helps create relationships and communication outside of stressful emergency calls that helps strengthen the bond between departments.”

Altmann praises local EMR’s and the lifesaving work they do.

“From the time your heart stops, you have six minutes until you start having brain death. You’re clinically dead at ten minutes,” said Altman. “If we didn’t have our EMR’s in some of these outlying areas, we wouldn’t have as good of results for the patient.”

“Training together builds cohesiveness,” added Altman. “We’re all out there with the same goal: to take care of the person. And if that handoff is as smooth as possible, there are better outcomes for our patients.”

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