January 7, 2010:
Today’s AM classes covered the department’s emergency medical system patient record system. Firefighter/Paramedic Rob Prechtel presented the lecture, and covered both the manual “paper” forms and the electronic “pen-based” computer systems used to document an EMS incident and record patient information. Rob is a very talented medical expert, and was the former EMS Supervisor at neighboring Maplewood Fire Department. He also worked as a paramedic at the Hennepin County Medical Center. He is the department’s peerless expert on the pen-based computer system!
Following Rob’s lecture, Mr. David Hodgson, from the Regions EMS Department, presented a lecture on the medical protocols used by our EMS division. David is another very talented medical expert, and he as been the Training Coordinator between Regions Hospital and Saint Paul Fire for many years. All Saint Paul Fire EMTs and Paramedics work under the professional license of our medical director, Dr. R.J, Frascone, from Regions Hospital. As a part of this strong medical oversight, our crews receive a significant amount of annual ongoing medical training from the Regions EMS Department, and much of that training is delivered by David Hodgson.
In the afternoon, my classmates used another of the excellent training trailers from Hennepin Technical College. The Urban Search and Recue Trailer had never before been used by a Saint Paul Fire Academy class, and it offered a number of challenging search and rescue scenarios for our class. Unfortunately, I had to miss the practical session in the afternoon to attend a meeting regarding our Apprenticeship Program. The Apprenticeship Program is a three year program that starts when firefighters graduate from the academy, and consists of formal classroom courses and written practical and written tests designed to improve firefighter skills and proficiency. Successful completion of the program means graduating to “Journeymen Firefighters.”
Academy recruits also practiced EMS scenarios during the afternoon. 4 of us worked as an EMS crew to respond to, treat, and transport a fellow student posing as a sick or injured “patient.” It was excellent practice, but I think we need quite a bit more before graduation! EMS work is a significant responsibility for Saint Paul Firefighters. We respond to about 40,000 emergency incidents per year – 80% of which are medical emergencies.
PT was again cancelled due to extended afternoon training sessions.
We are nearing the end of Week Nine, and all of us are looking forward to graduation! The class has been planning a graduation party, designing class T-shirts, and bidding for their preferred shifts – “A,” “B,” or “C.” Unfortunately, I have to remain on the 40-hour “D” shift after graduation – it’ll be back to the Chief’s office for me! But my intention is to work as a firefighter for a full 4-day work segment at least once per quarter after graduation – part of an ongoing education I feel is vital to doing my job as Fire Chief more proficiently. I look forward to the future “field work” already!
Until next time, stay safe and warm, and thanks for joining me “On Scene” at the Fire Academy.