Bryan Addenbrook isn't a licensed first responder, not yet.
The Grovetown Public Safety officer said he has taken the class and expects to take the exam soon.
Firefighters with the Martinez Fire Department try to open a car door at the scene of a fatal accident at Columbia and Old Louisville roads. A first response unit aided inthe process.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
One test of his first responder ability came after getting a call for manpower assistance last December.
"I was just expecting to load the lady on the stretcher," Addenbrook said.
But when he arrived, he learned that the woman was pregnant and in the process of delivering. Before he knew it, he was in the ambulance on the front lawn cutting the umbilical cord.
"I had tears in my eyes," the father of three said. "It was just neat to see."
The job of a first responder is riddled with situations that begin with a simple call and end with reviving, maintaining or ushering in life.
Martinez Fire Department Chief Doug Cooper said it's a job his first responders have been doing for years. Cooper's department became the first in the county to be licensed as a first responder agency.
"It gives us a better sense of professionalism," Cooper said.
To be granted the license, the department had to meet state requirements, including having at least one EMT and one first responder on duty 24 hours. Along with personnel, there must be a licensed truck carrying first responder medical equipment - such as spine boards and a short spinal extrication device.
Martinez Fire Department Information Officer Honey Shore said there are two licensed units on duty and two more are expected by the end of the year.
Because there are six first response stations located throughout the district, Cooper said spreading his 18 first responders evenly speeds up response times.
"We have an average response time of around four minutes," Cooper said. "A lot of times we can get there and make a difference before the ambulance gets there."
Getting the process started and serving as backup is what Addenbrook said he enjoys about the job.
"I can set up an IV and have the fluid ready," he said. "So when the EMT get the person in the ambulance all he's got to do is stick the needle in their arm and plug in the tube."
Though the Martinez Fire Department is the only licensed first responder agency in the county, they are not the only one with first responders.
Harlem, Appling and Grovetown all have certified first responders. Representatives from Grovetown and Appling said they plan to seek the license. David Bullard, of the Harlem Fire Department, said the 24-hour manpower requirement presents the biggest challenge to getting licensed.
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