Nov. 16—A new type of first-responder unit within the Kern County Fire Department has been set up to attend to local medical emergencies — and already it has notched a success.
The agency announced the new units after one of them, Medic Squad 63, performed advanced life support interventions that saved a life Wednesday.
Arriving on scene for a patient suffering a non-traumatic cardiac arrest, through swirling dust and heavy winds, Medic Squad 63 personnel resuscitated the person before providing transportation to a hospital. The squad reported that the patient regained consciousness and was verbally communicating during transport.
The unit will be accompanied by Medic Squad 15, meaning there will be two medical units operating for KCFD.
Consisting of highly trained fire paramedics, the two units will mostly operate in Oildale and Rosamond. KCFD reported that these unincorporated communities account for over 10,000 emergency service calls per year.
Capt. Andrew Freeborn of the KCFD said the new medical units will deploy certified paramedics instead of emergency medical technicians, authorizing them to perform more advanced procedures and offer advanced life support.
All firefighters must be certified EMTs, but not all firefighters have to be paramedics.
KCFD said the goal of the new medic squads is not only to operate in unincorporated areas where emergency services calls tend to get backed up, but also to take pressure off fire personnel who would otherwise have to respond to medical emergencies.
"With these new medic squads being deployed, we are seeing more apparatus out in the field, as well as adding more firefighters out into our response area," Freeborn said.
Different vehicle types will distinguish fire department medical services from standard fire personnel.
KCFD is in the process of acquiring brand new vehicles for Medic Squads 63 and 15. Freeborn said the vehicles are currently on a Ford assembly line.
While the vehicles are being assembled, KCFD has configured two SUVs capable of allowing the paramedics to perform services for the community.
The medic squad program was made possible by $5 million in Measure K sales tax revenue, Freeborn said.
"We can train staff and purchase tools, equipment and vehicles," he said.
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