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SFRD details ‘new’ response procedure

By Staff | Jan 20, 2010

According to Matt Scott, assistant chief at the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District, there are a number of citizens who have been asking about why they now dispatch a ladder truck to all emergency calls.

For many years, the SFRD would send their small rescue truck with two on-duty firefighter/EMTs to such calls. However, they decided to alter their operating procedures.

“Safety was the biggest reason,” said Scott. “We used to send two people on emergency calls, which would leave one on-duty person to man the station alone.”

For the past two-plus years, the SFRD have been dispatching three or four personnel – depending upon staffing at the time – on emergency calls, employing the use of their ladder truck.

At first, this might seem excessive. But not so, Scott explained.

“The biggest advantage to sending more personnel is that you never know what you’re going to get on an emergency call,” he said. “The more hands you have, the better. There are so many things to be done – one person will be working on the patient, one person will be conducting bystander interviews, another person will be handling the equipment and set-up. There’s no such thing as sending too many responders on an emergency call.”

The SFRD operates two emergency vehicles which are staffed 24 hours per day, with a minimum of two firefighter/EMTs and one firefighter/paramedic. Each vehicle is equipped with Advanced Life Support equipment identical to what would be found on an ambulance. Some of the equipment includes cardiac monitors, advanced airway adjuncts and advanced medications.

In addition, Lee County provides the island with an ambulance for transport of patients to local hospitals, which is staffed around the clock with one EMT and one paramedic.

According to Scott, the SFRD responded to 1,220 emergency calls in 2009, which was up nine percent from 2008. Approximately 66 percent of those calls were related to EMS-related crisis.

He also noted that the firefighters of the SFRD work closely with the EMTs and paramedics of Lee Count EMS to reduce on-scene time.

“In situations where SFRD arrives first, we will cancel the ambulance and vice-versa, as long as it does not impact the patient outcome,” added Scott. “It makes sense for the first arriving medically-trained personnel to treat this injury, thus allowing the other responders to remain available for the next possible emergency. This working relationship allows the resources of both agencies to maintain maximum readiness to respond to the next call for help.”