East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts will observe Emergency Medical Services Week today through Saturday.
This year’s national message is: “One Mission – One Team.” The fire stations in Topaz Ranch Estates, the Gardnerville Ranchos, Minden, and Sunridge will be open to the public during business hours to meet firefighter-paramedics and tour stations.
The EMS delivery system in East Fork is unique, but not uncommon to rural areas starting with the information received by a 911 dispatcher, and life saving instructions they can provide, to the response component of our combination system of neighborhood first responder volunteers assisting the firefighter/paramedics. For life threatening incidents, our community responds, including the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, starting CPR until the firefighter/paramedics arrive. This reduces the first contact response times significantly; especially important when CPR and early access to an automated external defibrillator may be required.
In 2011, the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts conducted an extensive study reviewing and adopting a Standards of Cover for response to calls for service. An essential change from this review provides for two-person paramedic fire engines and two-person paramedic ambulances. This increased our advanced life support services from five to eight pieces of apparatus without an increased cost. It allows the community to still have advanced life support/paramedic service in the immediate response district when the rescue was transporting a patient to the hospital.
Metropolitan area paramedics usually have short patient transport times with a choice of several hospitals. In our area, the ambulance patient transport times to the appropriate hospital can vary from a few minutes to sometimes over an hour or more depending upon the location of the incident or inclement weather and road conditions. Patients meeting the Nevada State Trauma criteria are usually taken by helicopter to the designated regional trauma center, which is Renown in Reno.
The fire engine crew, with its paramedic on board, is now able to respond and deliver ALS care in the absence of an immediately available rescue unit. Early advanced cardiac care and defibrillation capabilities now stay available in the response area even though the rescue unit is unavailable.
By the end of this month the East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts are on track for responding to more than 2,000 incidents for the first part of 2013.