It takes 180 classroom hours of instruction and passing a state-certified exam that Assistant Fire Chief Travis Serocki likens to taking the Bar Exam but 12 of the Owen-Withee-Curtiss Fire and EMS techs are moving toward that advanced certification. So far, everyone passed the classes and five of the 12 have passed the exam. They are allowed to take the exam three times. If they have not passed within those three, they can take a refresher course and try again.
It is yet another step in the improvement of equipment and services gained by the Fire District and EMS. New ambulances and fire trucks have been added along the way but this marks a great leap forward in the types of emergency medical services offered by O-W-C.
Until now, the EMTs of O-W-C have been limited to fire and rescue, transport and first aid. With the advanced certification, IVs, administering of pharmaceuticals (including nitroglycerin and diabetic meds), and more intense aid is available in our area without interception from more distant districts.
“In fact,” said Travis Serocki, “we are the first to offer these services in Clark County.” This makes the O-W-C district the future mentors for other districts in the county and surrounding areas.
Arriving at the fire station in Owen, Fire Chief Jason Thornton revealed the new renovations of the meeting room with its new flooring, higher ceilings, drywall, and better insulation. “Now it won’t be 30 below in here when it’s 30 below outside,” he said.
As of now, the EMTs have been certified as EMT Basic. According to Thornton, “Starting in June, O-W-C will begin the Advanced EMT. With the IVs and medications and more, we will be able to implement advanced skills that we couldn’t do until now. It will be a huge benefit to the community.”
As Jason and Travis detailed the advancements, they mentioned IOs or Intraosseous Devices, an infusion tool for tactical medics and EMTs. It is quick, easy to learn, and delivers fluids almost immediately to the central circulation through the bone marrow. It gives more options than more traditional IV methods that require more manpower, equipment, and time. They are especially useful for infants when blood vessels may be more difficult to find.
The device displayed by Serocki resembled a small drill and said that it could even be used painlessly by someone on themselves. All-in-all, it looked gruesome but the two of them assured me that it is painless and brilliantly quick to administer. It is great for someone in cardiac arrest or if they cannot get access to blood vessels.
Serocki asked me if I would to be a guinea pig for them. I won’t repeat what my response was.
The meeting room was set up for more advance training with the IOs and the IVs. The ambulances will remain the same but with upgraded equipment suitable for the advanced certification.
The advances are remarkable and their dedication to better serve the community is exemplary. But keep that drill away from me.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.