Joint efforts by the Dearborn Fire Department administration and Dearborn Firefighters Local 412 will mean that firefighters can bring the emergency room to the emergency scene, the department recently announced.
The department's ladder trucks have been upgraded to provide Advanced Life Support services—adding life-saving treatments capabilities such as medication administration, IV fluids, cardiac electrical therapy, intubation and advanced airway procedures.
With the upgrade, all of the department's trucks are ALS certified; concurrently, all but one of the department's employees are certified as paramedics—thus capable of treating victims of fire in emergency circumstances.
The effort has been about a year in the making, said union President Joey Thorington, and will help the department better respond to calls.
"Time is of the essence on serious medical calls, so when the rescue and fire engine from their station are busy on other runs, the ladder trucks are dispatched to medical calls with rescues from more distant Fire Stations," Thorington explained. "With continued increase in call volumes over the years, ladder trucks responding to medicals are becoming more common—frequent enough that improving their medical capabilities made sense."
The Dearborn Fire Department respond to more than 10,000 calls annually, served by four fire stations.
Thorington gave recognition to EMS Coordinator Don Begeman for his work with the state to upgrade the ladder trucks' EMS licenses, as well as Apparatus Division Supervisor Mike Brackett, who saw that his division modified the Ladder Trucks to meet state requirements for storing the ALS equipment.
Recently appointed Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray helped see the effort through from an administrative standpoint.
With this accomplishment, Dearborn joins only a few other cities in Michigan that have all rescue, engine and ladder companies certified to the ALS level.
ALS service has been shown to have a significant positive impact on the outcome of severely injured or ill patients.
“The upgrade in service of the Ladder Trucks to ALS ensures that no matter how many other fire department vehicles are out assisting the public, a resident who calls 911 will always have access to ALS services without delay,” said Chief Murray.
Added Thorington, "Dearborn fire administration and the firefighters union continue to strive to provide the highest level of services in the country and remain 'Best in Class' for Dearborn residents and those who pass through Dearborn."