When most people think about their local fire department, they imagine them rushing to the scene of a fire-engulfed home or building to save lives. While that’s certainly part of the job, it’s only part of the lifesaving work they do.
“Eighty percent of what the fire department does involves managing the scene in emergency medical situations,” says Steven Arze, M.D., chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs on the medical staff at Baylor Medical Center at Garland and deputy medical director for the City of Garland Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
A JOINT EFFORT
Because of the important role firefighters and paramedics play in emergency medical situations, the Baylor Garland emergency department (ED) and local EMS teams have made a strategic effort to build and maintain a close working relationship. From taking ER nurses on ride-alongs to providing paramedics with patient follow-up reports, the results are a more streamlined interaction, faster response time and improved patient care.
“We treat them as an extension of our department; we’re always looking for ways to improve our communication, transitions and protocol,” Dr. Arze says.
“And our accreditation in heart failure, chest pain and stroke are a testament to that—all of them require excellent communication with EMS to provide a seamless transition of care.”
IN THE FIELD
Even more exciting, a new communication system that employs the use of Bluetooth® is helping improve communication between EMS in the field and the Baylor Garland ED. “This system makes it possible for EMS responders to transmit important patient information directly from the EMS monitors to the ED in real-time, saving valuable minutes in the delivery of lifesaving treatment,” Dr. Arze says.
CITIZENS FIRE ACADEMY
To further improve the delivery of patient care and enhance the relationship between the local fire department and Baylor Garland, hospital staff completed the City of Garland Fire Department’s 12-week Citizens Fire Academy training program in December 2012.
“This was the first program we’ve done exclusively for Baylor Garland employees,” says Battalion Chief Todd Peele.
“It focused on giving them a better idea of what we do on a day-to-day basis so that we can continue to work closely and grow our relationship for the benefit of the community.”
A special thank-you to Chief Raymond Knight for putting on a class specifically designed for Baylor employees; Lieutenant Sam Mutrux and Firefighter/Paramedic Clint Young for instructing the program; Public Information Officer Merrill Balanciere for taking photos at the event; Station 6 C-Shift for helping out on burn day; and all the guest instructors.
In honor of National EMS Week, May 19-25, we would like to extend our gratitude to our local EMS providers and first responders for all they do for our community.
This content originally appeared in the May 2013 edition of Baylor Health Magazine.