At their meeting on Thursday, Aug 25, the Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Board of Directors passed a resolution to place Proposition L on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot. Prop. L is a proposal to provide funding for advanced medical training and equipment for existing firefighter/EMTs and to hire additional firefighter/paramedics.
By placing paramedics on fire trucks, lifesaving medications, equipment, and interventions not available to EMTs (emergency medical technicians) would be available to residents faster. It would also allow for a higher level of medical response for those in need of rescue from a crashed automobile or other emergency situation. Over the past three years, nearly half of CCFR’s emergency calls have been medical responses.
“We have seen an increase in the number of medical calls we assist with, and the needs of our community are changing. We can provide faster lifesaving care to our residents by placing paramedics and the appropriate advanced medical equipment on each of our fire trucks,” says CCFR Chief Dan Aubuchon.
“Even though we have paramedics on our team, they cannot give paramedic level care because they do not have access to the proper equipment, and the District is not licensed to provide paramedic services,” says Aubuchon.
Currently, all CCFR firefighters are EMTs. A paramedic can provide lifesaving medical interventions that EMTs do not have the training and equipment to provide. For example, during a heart attack, a paramedic can monitor heart rhythms, pace a patient’s heart rate and get them back into normal heart rhythm. They can also start an IV, provide medication and secure an airway if needed. An EMT can only use a standard defibrillator to shock a heart back into a rhythm if the heart has stopped, provide CPR and basic oxygen. A paramedic can also administer IV and other medications for stroke, seizures, diabetic comas, allergic reactions, and drug overdoses and intubate to provide an airway.
Almost every fire protection district in the St. Louis Metro Area and more than half of the fire departments with a population size similar to CCFR nationwide have paramedics on their fire trucks.
If voters approve Prop. L the District can levy an additional tax of 25¢ per one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation. The additional investment for the owner of a $175,000 home would be $1.60 a week.
CCFR will host a series of open houses to provide additional information and answer questions about the proposal. The first event will be an Open House at CCFR Fire Station #4,1259 Cave Springs Blvd., on Sept. 16 from 2 – 4 p.m. and a Senior Movie Afternoon and Open House will be held on Sept. 21 from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. at CCFR Fire Station #2, 109 McMenamy Rd. Additional activities will be announced in early September. District officials are also available to speak and attend neighborhood and community meetings.