Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Firefighters Will Become First Responders

Six firefighters will begin two weeks of first aid training Oct. 22 to launch a plan to increase the number of “first responders” in the city.

Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig said those trained will in turn train fellow firefighters with the goal of having “nearly everyone” in the Fire Division able to stabilize victims until they can be transported to a medical facility. The Fire Division itself will not provide transportation, he said.

The American Red Cross will provide the training and the cost will be borne by the Fire Division. Firefighters will learn first aid techniques such as how to resuscitate people, aid those in shock and stop bleeding while waiting for an ambulance.

Hellwig said the city purchased defibrillators last year and the firefighters will train employees at City Hall, Police and Fire stations and Public Works buildings to use the defibrillators.

Having a new cadre of first responders will mean adjusting some emergency procedures, Hellwig said. Once the firefighters are trained, dispatchers will then be able to call on them if the Plainfield Rescue Squad or mutual aid is not available. Hellwig said he will be talking to the rescue squad, police and fire personnel to come up with a plan.


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