A few minutes can mean a lot when it comes to a medical call.
Now firefighters in Burton have new training which gives them new skills to help cut the time between getting on the scene and getting treatment.
“You see a lot more you ride a lot more there are more requirements you have to do so you have a better understanding,” explains Burton Fire Engineer Hamilton Wilson
A better understanding and better training. that’s why several burton firefighters worked to become advanced Emergency Medical Technicians.
“The advanced allows us to start IV’s and administer some basic drugs. so that helps a lot when the paramedics get there and the ambulances get there that we already have an IV started and able to push a more advanced drug,” explains Lt Brandon Thomsen of the Burton Fire Dept.
It is part of Burton’s community risk reduction program.
When the numbers showed that 80% of the calls Burton firefighters ran on were medical or traffic accidents, the goal was to improve response and treatment time.
Now, as soon as these EMT’s get on scene they can offer more help. Then move on as soon as paramedics arrive.
“Conceivably we can go house to house call to call whereas when EMS picks up a patient and treats a patient they still have to take them to the hospital get their ambulance cleaned up and get back into service. We can get back into the fire truck and get right into the next calls,” says Cpt. Daniel Byrne of the Burton Fire Dept
With a rural coverage area like Burton has to cover, quick treatment can make a life-saving difference when ambulances are tied up on other calls. The best example fo that may come after a hurricane.
“The ambulances don’t start running again until we are already back out on the road. So there’s not an ambulance coming,” explains Wilson. “It kind of gives us more capabilities to handle some stuff for citizens they aren’t going to get when the ambulances aren’t ready.”
Sometimes there aren’t enough ambulances to handle the call volumes as well, which means response time could be slowed, and patients previously wouldn’t be treated as fast.
“If you have already gotten one call and Shell Point is busy then the closest ambulance is coming from downtown Beaufort all the way to Gray’s Hill,” explains Wilson.
This goes past the “basic training” all Burton firefighters get. These EMT’s gain more education, more knowledge, and more confidence when they roll on any call.
“We have a better understanding of what they need to better do their jobs. We can perform a more thorough assessment so we can provide them more information so they can start doing their job to help the patient instead of having to do all the detective work. It saves them a lot of time they can actually start treatment right away and say ok let’s go. Shortens their time clock.”
“Now instead of getting someone who can do some stuff but not a whole lot, now you have someone who has more capabilities and can provide more treatment to do in a lot of common emergencies,” says Wilson.
Right now there are two engines with that advanced certification EMT and equipment. The plan long term is to get the entire department certified, so the entire area will be protected and better served for all emergencies.