When seconds matter, how prepared are first-responders to save your life in an emergency? In Hardeeville, firefighters will soon be more prepared. Those who are not already EMT certified will go for training in September, as a recently secured grant for $81,515 pays for most of the cost.
“We went on a call before, and a gentleman stepped out and said, ‘I didn’t call for the firetruck. I called for an ambulance,’” firefighter Josh Luman says.
Luman says his job is evolving; more than half of the emergency calls Hardeeville Fire responds to in a year are medical emergencies, not fires. Without more than basic first-responder training, Luman says he feels helpless at some scenes.
“A lot, actually I do. When we get on scene sometimes I feel that we’re just standing around not knowing what to really do,” Luman says.
He believes that will soon change with the added training.
Lt. Joe Fairchild began applying for the grant in January. He says the need grew more on his mind each time firefighters arrived first on a medical emergency scene.
“We run medical calls together, so depending on where they’re coming from or where we’re coming from, we could very well and often are the first ones on scene. So, we need to be able to provide a similar level of medical care,” Fairchild says.
He already knows what a difference the EMT certification will make.
“Actually, last summer we had two members of our department who have advanced medical training run a call where there was an infant that wasn’t breathing. They were able to provide life-saving care and actually save that infant’s life,” he says.
The city of Hardeeville is also footing $4,000 of the bill for that training.