Some standard equipment an EMT would carry when responding to a 911 medical call, including oxygen, bandages, basic medications, etc.
Airway stabilization skills practice.
Monthly EMS training to improve patient care skills.
Practicing for Tactical medical situations involving law enforcement.
Being a Firefighter is not just about fighting fires. On top of that, and the variety of other emergencies we handle, Emergency Medical incidents are a large part of our skill set and one of the more common type of emergencies we handle. The staff of the Hampden Fire Department is currently expected to be trained at the minimum to what is known as an Emergency Medical First Responder. However, almost all of our personnel are trained to higher levels of care, ranging from Emergency Medical Technician to Paramedic, with a few also holding licenses as registered nurses and Critical Care/Flight Paramedics.
A Massachusetts Emergency Medical Technician is capable of doing everything a First Responder can including basic and advanced First Aid, CPR, use of automated external defibrillators, and with several additions. First, some basic emergency drugs can be administered, such as adult and pediatric epinephrine auto-injector pens, DuoDote auto-injector pens, aspirin in the cardiac setting, oxygen, glucose for diabetic-related emergencies, and in some cases, albuterol nebulizers and nasal Narcan (Naloxone) for opiate overdoses. EMT's in Massachusetts are allowed to staff ambulances, and have a more advanced level of knowledge regarding basic anatomy and physiology. Trained in cardiac, respiratory, OBGYN, trauma, and other emergencies, having these EMT's on the Hampden Fire Department will allow personnel to assist local ambulance services with patient assessments, vital signs, and packaging/preparing patients for transport to local hospitals.
Having our Firefighters cross-trained as EMT's will enable them to provide the higher level of care that those in need deserve. For example, this will allow the personnel to go from cutting apart a crashed vehicle to gain access, to assessing and stabilizing the patient(s), securing them to extrication devices, and preparing the patient(s) for local ambulances to transport. The FF/EMT's will work hand-in-hand with the local ambulance services' EMT's, Intermediates, and Paramedics, as well as the Hampden Police Department's First Responders to ensure that those in need receive proper and timely care. This new facet to our services is part of an ever-growing program to provide the Town of Hampden with the latest in emergency care. Our eventual goal is to transition from a non-transporting EMS "Fly Car" to providing transports with a Fire Department ambulance.
Our EMT's and Paramedics must meet a State and National Registry-required standard of continuing education and core skill competency training in order to re-certify as EMT's every 2 years. The EMT's attend these continuing education classes through online courses as well as courses offered in the classroom/hands-on settings. Taking these classes ensures that the required knowledge stays fresh in their minds, and allows EMT's to learn above and beyond the minimum skill levels needed for initial certification. This allows us to provide you or your loved ones a higher level of care in their time of need.
As of right now, the Town of Hampden Fire Department does not operate an actual ambulance capable of transporting patients to a hospital. Instead, we are fielding what is known as a "Fly-Car," or Fast Response Vehicle. This vehicle, pictured below, is staffed with 2 EMT's on all medical and trauma calls, and carries all the same equipment you would find on an ambulance staffed to the Basic Life Support level. This allows us to arrive on scene, assess, treat, and stabilize you or your loved ones during their medical emergencies, and prepare them for transport when the ambulance arrives. Again, our eventual goal is to provide the Town of Hampden with the capability of also transporting patient to the hospital with an ambulance of our own, but this is the first step. Currently, the primary transporting ambulance provider is American Medical Response in Springfield. Mutual aid agreements are also in place with Wilbraham, Longmeadow, and Monson Fire Department ambulances if AMR is not available.