In addition to fighting fires, PLFR provides emergency medical services to our communities. Medical care is provided to our citizens using a two-tiered system.
Basic ambulance services are provided by Basic Life Support Units (BLS) and are staffed by Firefighter Emergency Medical Technicians - Basic (FF/EMT-B).
The basic life support units are dispatched on non-life threatening calls such as, minor automobile accidents, injuries, or illnesses.
The personnel who staff these units are trained to the level of Emergency Medical Technician - Basic (EMB-B).
The EMT-B training program is a 121 hour course which taught by local EMT instructors through the local community college.
The course consists of lecture and practical work that covers splinting, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic first aid.
The successful EMT-B must pass both a written and practical exam and must re-certify every three years.
Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue staffs at least one BLS unit twenty-four hours a day.
The next level of service is the Advanced Life Support Units (ALS). These units are staffed by Firefighter/Paramedics (FF/PM).
Firefighter/Paramedics (FF/PM) are state certified and undergo additional training consisting of up to 2000 hours.
FF/PMs are required to attend continuing education programs and are re-certified every three years.
Paramedics can start intravenous infusions (IV’s), administer medications, interpret electrocardiograms (EKG’s), defibrillate a patient's heart, perform emergency cardioversion, external pacing of the heart, endotracheal intubation, and chest decompression.
Currently, Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue staffs at least one ALS medic unit 24 hours a day.
What is a Medical Emergency?
A medical emergency is an unforeseen injury or illness (physiological or psychological) requiring immediate medical care. The individual may be in danger of loss of life or health impairment, or may be incapacitated or helpless as a result of a physical or mental condition.
Emergency incidents are classified according to the level of care required to treat the patient. Basic Life Support is the first level of care provided. It is provided by individuals who are trained and certified at the Emergency Medical Technician-Basic level and involves pre-hospital emergency medical care and management of illness or injury including patient assessment, airway and bleeding control, administration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, splinting, and the administration of oxygen.
Advanced Life Support is a more advanced pre-hospital care for serious illness or injury provided by Paramedics. This medical care includes administration of emergency drugs, electrical defibrillation, intravenous fluids, and advanced airway management techniques. Some of the incidents which indicate the need for advanced life support include heart attack, trouble breathing, unconscious person, chest pain, drowning, electrocution, asthma, allergic reactions, automobile accidents with trapped persons, serious burns, gunshot or stab wounds, motorcycle accidents, and diabetic reactions.
Advanced Cardiac Care
Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, Harrison Medical Center, Kitsap Cardiology and the Poulsbo Doctors Clinic have created protocols that allow Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue paramedics to administer a host of drugs, including thrombolytics, or clot busters—which can destroy a blood clot blocking blood and oxygen to the heart—and provide immediate treatment during heart attacks.
The importance of early identification and treatment of patients experiencing an AMI is clearly beneficial. Studies have shown that the time from pain onset to pre-hospital administration of thrombolytic therapy can be reduced simply by early identification of patient eligibility by paramedics as well as more efficient patient management after arrival at the cardiac care facility. The limitations of thrombolytic therapy also may be related, in part, to patient denial of symptoms and reluctance to seek emergency assistance. To widen the net of patients who can receive thrombolytic therapy, extensive research has been conducted to integrate Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue into the treatment window and provide the “clot busting drug” while being transported to the cardiac care center.
Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue has outfitted ambulances with required telemetry systems; there by allowing the Physician at Harrison Medical Center and the paramedic to clearly achieve a course of action to treat patients with life saving drugs before arrival at a designated cardiac care facility.