Floyd Emergency Medical Services is providing Cherokee County, Alabama, firefighters with more than 100 emergency kits and training them so they have more tools when they are first to arrive on a scene where there are injuries.
Cherokee County is approximately 600 square miles and its all-volunteer firefighting force is spread out where they live, from Piedmont to the south all the way near Mentone to the north. The emergency kits give them some extra tools to help track and treat the condition of those who are injured.
“We are trying to focus on what the firefighters can do to stabilize the patient before EMS gets there,” said Greg Goedert, training officer with Floyd EMS. “There’s a lot they can do to create a better outcome for a patient. They are really doing well, and we want them to do well.”
The kits include bleeding control items, such as bandages and tourniquets, devices to clear the airways, stethoscopes and pulse oximeters used to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood, said Andy Fairel, Cherokee County Operations Manager for Floyd EMS.
The class sessions run six weeks and include about 45 hours of instruction on first aid. The classes also cover recording vital signs so that firefighters can pass off the information to EMS responders when they arrive.
David Glenn said he has been a volunteer firefighter for about 20 years in Cherokee County. The classes, which are being taken at night after busy days for many, are very useful, he said. “One of the most important things I have got out of it is how to better assess my patient and get that information to the EMS member who is coming,” he added.
Angela Templeton has been a volunteer firefighter for two years. She was among about 25 people attending a class long after the sun had set.
“It’s good to be able to help the community better, to have more knowledge in what we are able to provide for them as far as immediate care,” Templeton said. “We can start immediate assessment and treatment as soon as we are on the scene. We live up on Lookout Mountain and it’s a good 15 to 20 minutes from Centre.”