Life Saving Advancements

Life Saving Advancements

    A group Wichita Falls fire fighters are training to become advanced EMT’s.

    This training will allow them to administer more medications and start IV’s and is important because the fire department usually is the first ones on the scene.

     Wichita Falls Fire Department's Assistant Fire Chief Donald Hughes said that 80 percent of their calls are medically related, and the advanced EMT certification will make a life saving difference in trauma, cardiac arrest and diabetic emergencies.

            “We're already making these calls so we're already there, it is just good to know that there are more things that we could do instead of just sit there and wait on an ambulance,” said Chief Hughes. 

             He adds his crew feels the same way.

            “It's really hard on the guys to sit there and not doing anything,” said Chief Hughes.

                Soon that is all about to change. There is about ten fire fighters that are certified advanced EMT’s now, and by the first of the year that number will jump to 30.

                 “It’s just going to be a better service for the citizens of Wichita Falls and that's why we're here,” said Chief Hughes.

            Along with the better service will become better equipment, and with the help of the North Texas Regional Advisory Council, WFFD now has Statpacks and Pediatric Statpacks to store medical supplies while improving efficiency and reducing injury.

     Their new automated external defibrillators read three leads instead of two, similar to the ones in hospitals.

     To have advanced EMT’s you need advanced training, and the fire department is getting it with the help of Vernon College's Fire and EMS Coordinator Robyn Wike.

     State of the art mannequins make training feel realistic, and Wike said the camera and microphone in the mannequins allow her to not only monitor the fire fighters responses and progress, but also to recreate real scenarios for their training. Some of those scenarios include allergic reactions or becoming unresponsive.

                “In pretty much real life, treat the patient, and if they did the right things the patient gets better, if they don't the patient gets worse,” said Wike.

         The training consists of twelve weeks of lecture and lab, along with a couple months of clinicals.  

     Assistant Fire Chief Donald Hughes said he hopes to have one hundred advanced life support certified fire fighters by the end of next year.   

     Chief Hughes and Wike agree, the program has strengthened the bond between EMS and the fire department, and it is bettering their relationship on the scene which is good for the entire community.