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Station 5 gains advanced life saving apparatus

By Staff | Aug 12, 2015

One more fire station in Cape Coral has taken its life saving abilities to the next level.

Station No. 5 introduced its upgrade to Advanced Life Support status at a press conference recently, which will enable the station to perform advanced life saving measures and use advanced medications to save lives and improve the quality of life for those who are victims.

Previously, the engine had been basic life support, with EMTs who can administer oxygen and perform basic first aid. All Cape Coral firefighters are EMT certified.

Now, there will be paramedics on the truck with the station being licensed by the state as an advanced life support vehicle, said Ryan Lamb, fire division chief of the Cape Coral Fire Dept., capable of providing advanced first aid until the ambulance arrives.

“Paramedics can administer advanced medication, IVs, cardiac rhythms and other advanced procedures,” Lamb said. “All our EMTs can do CPR and carry defibrillators. Paramedics take it to the next level.”

Station No. 5 is the sixth out of 10 stations to reach ALS status, joining stations 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10. Lamb said the goal is to have all stations with ALS care, but the department wants to do that sustainably.

A study was done on how long it took for departments to get to certain parts of the city and how many calls were impacted into each part of the city. It was found the Station No. 5 had a large numbers of calls where it takes a long time for ambulances to arrive, Lamb said.

The ALS equipment will include a bag for pediatric care with equipment geared to them, a cardiac monitor, special medications and breathing equipment for people with congestive heart failure, and other items.

“The equipment is only one part of it. We want someone who’s capable of using that equipment,” Lamb said. “After receiving training as a paramedic, once they’re state certified, we put them through another 6 to 12 months of training to make sure they’re up to Cape Coral standards.”

Lt. Mike Russell said the upgrade cost about $45,000, most of which was taken by the cardiac monitor, with an increase of 10 to 15 percent in operational costs.

In a city that receives roughly 10 calls for cardiac arrests per week, Lamb said, it’s important to give residents the best possible outcomes.

“Anytime people in Area 5 call for service, they’ll get the best possible service, treatment and care,” Russell said.

“In the areas we have ALS, we’re able to provide a higher level of care. It’s not so much saving a life more than when we get someone back their quality of life and the ability for them to function at a higher level,” Lamb said.