Prince Rupert firefighters have entered into intensive five-day training to upgrade their medical first responder skills to be that of paramedic level one equivalent.
“This is a new training to bring the firefighters up from a baseline standard of being first responders level three, to upgrading to emergency medical responders,” Chad Cooper deputy fire chief told The Northern View on Jan. 27.
“This will allow us to provide a few more treatments on the scene, like administering nitro-spray for heart attacks, ASA’s, Entonox for pain management. It also gives us the potential for transport,” Cooper said, though fire department vehicles will not be upgraded for transportation at this time.
The training is not meant to decrease ambulance calls or paramedic attendances at an emergency scene. The training is meant to provide a higher level of service until the ambulance crews arrive, the deputy fire chief said.
“We will be able to assist the paramedics a lot more because now we will be able to do I.V. management, where before we couldn’t,”.
“The training will equip the firefighters with a higher confidence to be able to perform necessary procedures in emergency situations, and provide betterment of services to local residents,” Cooper said.
After the practical training is completed to qualify for licencing the firefighters must complete two separate written examinations and a practical evaluation.
Firefighter James Daniele said the crew is really excited to be able to take the training.
“I think that if I’m able to provide any care that I wasn’t able to provide prior to this training, that’s a positive thing. I think that everybody wants to do as much as they can for the patient,” he said.
“Any type of formalized training that we have, is going to benefit the community. We have an absolute professional brought here to teach us,” Daniele said. “The city’s commitment to providing a higher level of training and resources for us is a huge benefit. They realize the necessity and want to provide those skills to help the community. Everybody’s excited.”
Copper said a lot of the fire departments in the province are improving the skillset to the Emergency Medical Responder level and while Prince Rupert is not the first, other departments in the area are also upgrading. Terrace Fire Dept. will be next week, he said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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