The recent addition of the assistant EMS director to the Cranston Fire Department’s (CFD) Rescue Division has allowed for improved training opportunities within the department; the new role was …
The recent addition of the assistant EMS director to the Cranston Fire Department’s (CFD) Rescue Division has allowed for improved training opportunities within the department; the new role was part of CFD’s union contract which was ratified in August.
Deputy Chief and EMS Director Rick Greene said having the new assistant EMS position has worked out well. The position is held by Captain David Davy who has been with CFD for two decades. Greene, who recently took on the EMS director position, explained that it can be hard for one person to complete their daily activities and work on training for the department’s 196 members.
When Greene took on his new role, many of the department’s training instructors were retiring which led to a rebuilding phase. Three of the department’s firefighters recently attended instructor coordinator school so they can teach others.
On Friday afternoon, rescue crews gathered at CFD headquarters for routine training sessions in CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). Gathered in small groups, the firefighters engaged in training scenarios by using a rhythm generator on a special mannequin. The mannequin can be used for various training and has the ability to “breathe,” be shocked and have an IV put into its arm. The mannequin’s pulse is read on a rhythm generator and can wirelessly connect to a digital program. After firefighters run through a training scenario of a collapsed individual, they review what went well and what they could have done better.
Greene, who’s been with CFD for 25 years, said the training is about bettering what the firefighters are already doing well and keeping up their skills in accordance with state guidelines. He noted that there have been guideline changes over the years. For instance, one of the alterations has been the establishment of the 30-minute rule of CPR at a non-trauma scene. In order to try and resuscitate an individual in a non-trauma situation, firefighters may perform CPR for up to 30 minutes. For trauma cases the department has 10 minutes for CPR since the individual may have internal injuries.
When the department receives a rescue call, a two-man rescue initially responds to the scene. Green said the rescue officer is in charge and takes care of the person in need while the engine officer obtains history information and a list of medications from the person’s family. The documentation is then provided to the hospital’s doctors.
In general, 800 to 1,000 miles are put on the city’s rescues each month. The most common call for assistance is for falls; for every EMS dispatch, a fire truck goes with the rescue. Greene explained that the city has a lot of codes and, last week, had two pediatric codes in the last two days. He said this is a rare occurrence.
The rescues also host ride-alongs with doctors and EMT students. Greene said the experience allows doctors to see what firefighters see. Sometimes when individuals are dropped off at the hospital, doctors ask why firefighters might not have done something at the scene. Greene said the experience allows doctors to interact with patients on a different level and is often an eye-opening experience.
Looking at future training for the department, Greene said CFD is in the talks of collaborating with the Cranston Police Department on training for active shooter situations. While firefighters are used to dealing with one patient at a time, this training would teach them how to attend to multiple individuals at a time.
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