Paramedics ready to give aid

Eagle Mountain fire department has certification
By Sharon Haddock
Deseret Morning News

EAGLE MOUNTAIN Brandon Boschard boasts about the benefits of his job he's making a difference in people's lives and he gets paid to do so.

Steven Berg, far left, Capt. Stacey Berg, Capt. Steve Conger and David Bradley train while others watch and assess their work.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
"I've actually been interested in helping people for years," he said. "I was an emergency medical technician at 18. I was a member of the ski patrol at Park City for a couple of years. I just have really enjoyed helping people in sticky situations."
So when it became apparent that fast-growing Eagle Mountain needed a good paramedic program, Boschard volunteered.
He's spent more than a year attending training sessions, honing his skills and working to achieve paramedic status two tiers above basic emergency medical training.
Boschard is now a full-time paramedic for the Eagle Mountain Fire Department, the fourth department in Utah County to be certified by the state emergency medical service commission. That certification means they can legally provide advanced life-saving care to people hurt or injured in the west desert community, which is a 30-40 minute drive from the nearest hospital.
He's one of nine trained men and women who are ready to help a victim of car crash, a choking baby or an elderly heart attack victim, using a variety of life-saving procedures.
"We're able to do more with airway problems (than emergency medical technicians). That's important given we're so far away from the hospital," Boschard said. "We have some more skills we can apply that the state law doesn't otherwise allow that I think provides a peace of mind to the residents."
Boschard and his fellow paramedics are busy.
They responded recently to a home because the carbon-monoxide detector was going off.
"You couldn't feel it. You can't smell it, but because we have the equipment we could detect high levels of gas and evacuated the house. . . . It was definitely a life-saving call," he said.
"I've been on a lot of car accidents, a few rollovers," he said. "I don't think I've made a huge difference personally, but we're giving people a measure of comfort. I'm thankful our city has put such a wonderful emphasis on the fire department."
Fire Chief Robert DeKorva said he appreciates the extra year the paramedics have invested in skill development because it enhances the overall service level, especially when the firefighters are cross-trained.
"So far we've been called out to 303 incidents," DeKorva said. "That's compared to 250 for all of last year. Most of our calls turn out to be traffic-related because we have the state road (U-73) out here which is heavily traveled and can get nasty in a storm."
DeKorva said the paramedics were licensed in July and will be expanding to 24-hour coverage in 2005.
The paramedic program costs the city about $55,000 a year and serves a population of between 8,000 to 10,000 residents.
"The city is committed to actually having a paramedic in the station during daytime hours," said City Administrator Chris Hillman. "Next July the city will have overnight coverage as well. That's another $50,000."