The Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory is moving toward becoming an EMT trained department to provide a higher level of care to those with medical issues or for those who become victims in accidents or fires.
During this morning’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, Warsaw Fire Chief Mike Brubaker said the state requirements over the last several years have required firefighters to become EMT certified. Warsaw currently has 14 firefighters who are EMT certified or higher, but about 17 who are only first responders.
Brubaker told the B.O.W., “We’re in a unique situation because we have Multi- Township EMS, which is a private company, but in most cities you go to that are our size, EMS is in the firehouse and they’ve been there for quite a few years.”
“We’re doing an excellent in the firefighter side of it,” Brubaker added, “but right now there’s things we can’t do. If it takes Multi 3 to 4 minutes to get to an accident and we’re there, right at the scene, in my opinion I couldn’t go home at night and be comfortable knowing we could’ve done more. As EMTs we could do more.”
Brubaker said Plymouth, Elkhart and Fort Wayne fire departments, for example, require a minimum EMT certification for firefighters. He also explained that many of the new firefighter applicants who come to the department today already have at least an EMT certification but “because of what the state just changed on a lot of the regulations for the medical side of it, they want paramedic firefighters.”
In order to move forward with the department will mandate for EMT training for the firefighters, 15 have registered for upcoming classes. “What we’re looking at is that every day that we staff those trucks that we are giving that level of service to the community and the citizens that we have,” said Brubaker.
The B.O.W. approved Sue Bechtold to teach the EMT classes to the firefighters three days a week during each of the three shifts. Training will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will begin March 4 and conclude no later than Aug. 15.
“It’s not our goal to transport, it’s our goal to treat,” Brubaker added.
The B.O.W. approved the contract with Bechtold not to exceed $25,000.