Receiving the call: medics and firefighters join forces

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

The difference between life or death can sometimes be determined by mere seconds and when bad reception stops emergency responders from receiving the call to action, every moment that passes puts the patients further in jeopardy.

The 9th Medical Group and base fire department has mitigated this risk by co-locating medical providers at Station 2, allowing medics to be immediately dispatched with emergency services.

According to Kevin L.Smith, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of fire emergency services, Beale completed a risk analysis based on emergencies that providers were responding to and found Station 2 would eliminate radio issues and decrease response time to base housing.

“The medics no longer have to deal with dead spots, they're receiving the call immediately,” he said. “Plus now they're closer to where a large portion of medical calls originate, allowing for faster response.”

Smith added that having medics and firefighters stationed together is an opportunity for his Airmen to train on medical services.

“Having our firefighters receive EMT-level training from the medics expands their knowledge,” he said. “So in the instance that the medics need assistance they can trust, our firefighters do it."

According to Tech. Sgt. Aundrea Douglas, 9th MG ambulance services NCO in charge, the extra training and established trust between the two is important for providing better care to their patients.

“They have a stronger understanding of what our standards are on a call, what questions to ask patients, the gear we need and what basic treatments to start until we arrive,” said Douglas.

Smith believes the end goal of this implementation is to ensure better care for those who need emergency services.

"The difference between a minute or just a few seconds is the difference between life and death.” he said. “We decreased the time it takes to arrive on scene and save a life, that means everything to us."