What happens on Longboat when you call 9-1-1?
Many residents don’t realize that Longboat Key Fire-Rescue provides two main services, fire protection and advanced emergency medical services including transportation. Many people call their EMS service “EMTs,” but that is not what Longboat Key provides. Longboat Key provides paramedic service. So what is the difference?
EMT service is a service that provides basic life support such as bandaging, CPR and basic first aid.
Paramedic service is a service that provides the “EMT service” and advanced life support such as advanced airway stabilization, intravenous establishment, medication administration, EKG interpretation, and continued patient monitoring and care while being transported to the nearest medical facility for continued care.
The Fire-Rescue Department responds to more medical emergencies than fire-related emergencies, but that should never discount the fire side of the department. If a person is sick, they can go to a walk-in clinic, their personal physician; or if the illness or injury is bad enough, they can call 9-1-1 and an ambulance (rescue) would be at their front door within minutes. In a fire situation there is only the fire department that can handle that need, and the department provides that service with professionalism and dedication.
It does not matter what type of fire department vehicle arrives at your home on Longboat Key; the personnel in the vehicles are firefighters that provide both firefighting and advanced life support services, depending on what the situation requires.
How does 9-1-1 work?
When an emergency occurs at your home and you need medical assistance, pick the phone up and call 9-1-1. The person you’re speaking to on the other end is called a “call taker” and is at the 9-1-1 Center in eastern Manatee County. The call taker asks you several pertinent questions, such as what type of emergency you are experiencing, the address or location of the emergency, etc. It is important to never hang-up the phone until you are told to do so or until the fire department arrives.
The call taker will then transfer your call to a dispatcher who will or who already has dispatched the appropriate response to your emergency. Some emergencies only require an ambulance such as an ill person, while others may require additional assistance such as a heart attack or respiratory victim.
Many of the emergency calls on Longboat Key are in high-rise buildings that require the fire department paramedics to carry their medical equipment to the patient, and at times carry the patient down stairs because the stretcher will not fit into many of the elevators. This requires more than two people to provide the necessary service. If, however, the extra personnel are not needed at the scene, they return to service and are available for the next call.
Reminders to do before the fire department arrives:
• Have all current medications in a bag so they can be taken to the hospital.
• Have patient information ready to provide the paramedics.
• If you’re planning on accompanying the patient to the hospital, make sure you’re ready to go.
• When the Fire-Rescue Department paramedics arrive, they will work quickly in trying to obtain all the information possible, as well as provide quality care to the patient(s). They will provide the necessary medication and treatment to stabilize the patient before providing transportation to the hospital. Every situation is different so not all patients will need medication and not all will need to be transported, but if a patient requests transport the department will do so. The Fire-Rescue Department can only transport to emergency facilities and not to medical offices.
During transport, the patient’s condition is monitored and treatment is provided as needed. Longboat Key Fire-Rescue Paramedics carry and utilize state of the art equipment that not all other agencies provide in a pre-hospital setting, such as intravenous pumps, ventilators, enhanced pharmaceutical supplies, etc. Longboat Key paramedics are highly trained and skilled to handle a variety of emergencies.
All Longboat Key paramedics receive extensive training under an assigned preceptor and must successfully pass a written and practical exam prior to becoming a full functioning or “Charge” paramedic for the department. Once the paramedic is cleared as a full functioning paramedic, the training does not stop. Ongoing training is provided in a variety of courses to ensure that the citizens and visitors on Longboat Key receive not only the care that they expect but also deserve.
To simplify, next time you need assistance in an emergency, remember to call 9-1-1 and you will quickly receive the emergency service you need.
File of Life is a program offered to all residents of Longboat Key by the department. This program offers a magnetic sleeve where pertinent medical information is kept. Information such as name, physician, past medical history and medications are included on the medical sheet, and the magnetic sleeve is then placed on the front of the refrigerator. When the firefighter/paramedics arrive and the patient or caregiver cannot provide patient information, the paramedics can obtain the information sheet that will assist them in the treatment of the patient.
An example is a patient suffering from a stroke who cannot speak. Firefighter/ paramedics can begin treatment, obtain the necessary information off the refrigerator and transport the patient to the appropriate medical facility.
For more information on the File of Life Program or any other program, call the Longboat Key Fire-Rescue Department at (941) 316-1944.