For immediate release - Dec. 1, 2004
TAVARES — A fifth fire station featuring advanced life-support service was added to the Lake County Fire Rescue Division this month.
Three recently hired paramedics are now on staff full-time at Station 52, located in the Grand Island area of Lake County. Since July 2001, the Lake County Fire Rescue Division has updated its fire stations from basic to advanced life support as needed. Last year, Station 94 in the Four Corners area was upgraded to advanced life support.
The primary difference between the two services is paramedics. All Lake County firefighters are trained emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and are able to conduct basic life-support care such as CPR, IV preparation, basic airway maneuvers and a number of other procedures.
Paramedics are medical professionals that provide out-of-hospital care in emergencies. Education for a paramedic is typically three to four times longer than an EMT and includes more than 200 hours of training in a hospital emergency room and on an emergency apparatus such as a fire truck or ambulance. Paramedics are proficient in monitoring heart rhythms, delivering precise electrical therapy (defibrillation) to patients suffering certain abnormal rhythms, preparing and administering a number of emergency medications and providing more advanced respiratory support.
“It’s really a big step up from an EMT to a paramedic,” said Jack Fillman, Lake County Fire Rescue Chief of emergency medical services and education. “The goal is to upgrade to advanced life support in every one of our stations because that is the best possible scenario for our citizens.”
The Lake County Fire Rescue Division budgets for paramedic training for three firefighters each year. Currently three firefighters are finishing paramedic training at Lake-Sumter Community College with several others attending programs at colleges in neighboring counties.
“It really takes an extra step to go through this training,” Fillman said. “It’s a big commitment for the County and for the individual.”
With proposed plans to open a new fire station in the Lake Jem area in the upcoming fiscal year and several more in the following years, the addition of more paramedics to the Lake County Fire Rescue staff will ensure new stations will open with advanced life support.
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