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DFRD uses EMS skills to benefit community

Among the arrows in the quiver of the Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department is its ability to provide emergency medical services. The training became a staple for members of the department when administrators recognized a need for the services in the area.

“We always felt like we could do more and we knew there was a void here in our city,” Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department Chief Ronnie Few said. “And what I mean by void is that if the ambulance is out on a call and something occurs we can help out with that situation until the paramedics can get there.”

The department’s emergency medical service abilities have developed to the point that Captain Karl Hale has added to his responsibilities the duty of overseeing the operation.

The training is designed so that each member of the department can provide at least first responder medical services at any scene in which they may be required.

“We can handle almost any emergency,” Few said. “The basic needs that people have with emergencies in the city everyday, we can take care of those needs.”

“It think it helps a lot because we can be pretty much at any house in Demopolis in three to five minutes,” DFRD member Matt Allred said of the department’s ability to provide services in a timely fashion.

While the department has some individuals working their way through paramedic school, it currently cannot provide the highest level of emergency medical services. However, as department member Marco Rembert pointed out, the DFRD’s training does work well in combination with EMTs in more serious medical situations.

“Most of the time, we can save them a step,” Rembert said.

“If we have a car accident or something, we can get them packaged up on a backboard and ready to go where all the paramedics have to do when they get there is load them on the truck,” Allred added.

The training has afforded the department the ability to respond to a higher volume of calls over the last few years, enabling it to provide a greater level of assistance to the community it serves.

“Every day some medical calls come in our system. We’re proud of that,” Few said. “We’re proud that we have been able to transition from a department that ran 200 calls a year to one that runs 800 calls a year.”

While the training has diversified the skill sets of Demopolis’ firemen, it has also provided them an avenue to expand their communication skills as treating an injured individual calls for a certain level of delicacy not required when combatting the flames of a burning building.

“The guys have done a fantastic job. They are very professional. They render care in a very caring and efficient manner,” Hale said. “I think it has made them more aware of how to treat the public. The training model we have used is to get them to treat each patient with the same level of respect they would want their most cherished family member treated.”