I have a question: How much money could the county save if the fire department was not called out on every vehicle accident? I understand this is a policy; is it a prudent one? Were there any statistics that may have caused this? It seems a waste of gas, manpower and resources.
Could I have an answer to this question?
Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker responds:
The medical First Responder program, in which firefighters are also trained as emergency medical technicians, was started in Columbia County in 1999.
While the program does use additional resources, the benefits far outweigh the costs. We have five ambulance substations, and at any given time, one or more of those ambulances and medical personnel are making transports to the hospitals and are not in station. More often than not, the firefighters from any of the 14 fully-staffed fire stations can be first at the scene of a vehicle accident with injuries, a heart attack, or other life-threatening events within just a few minutes to perform immediate care that has proven to save lives many times over.
Additionally, many vehicle accidents require using extrication equipment that the trained firefighters provide, along with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) that they carry on all fire units. We strongly feel that this is an excellent life-saving program and much more cost effective than paying for more ambulance substations to increase medical coverage.
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