Response to East Texas storms highlights benefits of multi-tasking fire units

Response to East Texas storms highlights benefits of multi-tasking fire units

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The recent East Texas emergency situation during the storms illustrate how beneficial multi-tasking fire units can be. Many East Texas fire departments use engines that can double as medical units when going to a scene.

And man,y like the Longview Fire Department, have a majority of personnel that are cross-trained in emergency medical services. KLTV’s Bob Hallmark spoke to Longview Fire Marshal Kevin May about the advantages.

If you’ve ever wondered why a fire truck arrives for a medical call, its because a majority of fire engines double as rolling medical units.

″All of our firemen carry not only a Texas Fire Commission Certification, but they also carry some sort of emergency medical service certification," May said. “Out of 169 uniformed personnel, 165 have achieved the top certification of being a paramedic.”

We saw numerous fire units in Alto, there to deal with any possible medical emergencies.

There are even some departments that have engines designed to have rolling stretchers inside so that they can take a patient to the hospital. It’s an emergency room on wheels providing medical triage in critical situations.

″We have the capabilities to start patient care, do the IV’s, advanced airways, we can push medications in life-saving emergencies. We do all of that before the ambulance arrives. Oxygen, IV therapy, cardiac monitor," May said.

Working as independent units, they can respond often before ambulances can arrive.

″There are times when a fire engine is closer to an emergency, whether it be a wreck, it be a disaster or it be a heart attack," May said.

Five of Longview’s eight fire stations also have front line ambulance crews.

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