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• Expect the unexpected. Even the response experts could not believe the possibility of lightning fusing pipes together.
This is just an example of the “unusual” that responders must prepare for an event where all the “wrong” pieces come together.
Lakeland Fire Dept.
The writer has been a member of the Lakeland Fire Department for 14 years. He holds an associate’s degree in emergency medical management from Polk State College and is completing a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration. He is a member of Florida Light Technical Rescue Team 421.
Proving the Value
of Fire-Based EMS
The CAL FIRE/Riverside County, CA, Fire Department recently successfully converted four individuals who were in full cardiac arrest. In one incident, Engine 27 responded to a man complaining of shortness of breath and “a weird feeling in both arms.” He became unconscious and his heart went into a dangerous V-Fib rhythm. Advanced life support (ALS) actions were initiated, resulting in a successful resuscitation. Engine 32 responded to a person in cardiac arrest. The patient was intubated, given an IV with medications and defibrillated several times. The patient regained pulse, blood pressure and some respirations.
Engine 70 responded to a woman in cardiac arrest at home. Her husband had begun CPR. She was resuscitated and arrived at the hospital with good vital signs. Engine 70 also responded to a man in cardiac arrest at a golf course. Bystander CPR using a facility-provided automated external defibrillator (AED) had provided two shocks prior to arrival. Firefighters used ALS procedures and the man arrived at the hospital with good vital signs.
These actions point out the importance of our fire-based paramedic or advanced life support and pre-arrival cardiac interventions by civilians. Fire paramedics initiated very effective treatment followed by rapid transport by AMR. As a result, four adults are alive to live another day. I am very proud of our fire personnel and their accomplishments. They perform near miracles every day. These examples are but four of what our firefighters do every day.
John R. Hawkins
Unit and County Fire Chief