AMBOY — In an emergency, every second matters.
The Amboy Fire Department no longer has to wait several minutes to bring advanced life support (ALS) care to a patient since it has gone through new training with Mercyhealth.
“We’re no longer 10 minutes to the station and then 10 minutes to the scene,” said Amboy Fire Chief Jeff Bryant. “We are now able to staff more paramedics at the station during the day when the majority of our calls happen. Our patient care has improved because of this program. The secondary benefit is the cost-savings.”
Amboy has had its own ambulance service for decades with firefighters certified at the EMT basic level. When a patient needed more advanced life support services, like a heart attack sufferer, the fire department would have to acquire assistance from a third party ambulance service. It would cost between $100 and $200 a call depending on the agency, said Bryant.
Bryant said late last year, the Amboy Fire Department partnered with Mercyhealth Prehospital and Emergency Services Center at Mercyhealth Hospital – Rockton Avenue for training.
“The Amboy Fire Department is committed to raising the standard of care in the area that they serve,” said Mercyhealth MD-1 Physician Dr. John Pakiela. “The ALS Upgrade program allows for faster and more efficient critical resources to help the patients that the Amboy Fire Department serves. This partnership will save lives.”
Since the training began, Mercyhealth has trained 14 of 55 Amboy firefighters on the advanced set of protocols to be called paramedics. The fire station has an additional 33 EMTS who can provide basic life support on calls. Mercyhealth does not charge the continuing education it provides to agencies such as the Amboy Fire Department. It comes as a service for Mercyhealth being the agency’s medical control.