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East St. Paul paramedics, first responders, top notch

Posted: November 20, 2017

East St. Paul paramedics, first responders, top notch

The dedicated men and women who sign on to be members of the East St. Paul Fire Department do much more than put out fires - they save lives.
In fact firefighters here respond to far more medical calls than all other types of calls combined.  Of 259 calls to Oct. 22 of this year, 152 of them have been medical calls and 40 have been motor vehicle collisions.
Mayor Shelley Hart says house fires are rare - there was one last month and luckily no one was injured - but that's not the norm, and that's a good thing.  Reduced fires can be attributed to many factors, including better building codes, and people having working smoke detectors in their homes.
East St. Paul has responded to just 12 fires this year, three were structure and the remaining were things like grass and bush fires and vehicle fires.
The province mandates that rural municipalities provide fire protection, but medical response is provided because your local council has made this service available.
The department has 35 firefighters/medical responders on the paid-per-call department, and the RM is not reimbursed by the province for medical calls.
Thirteen members are Primary Care Paramedics and 15 are Medical First Responders who maintain their licenses through Manitoba Health with yearly license maintenance tests and mandatory training.
"We have very good first responders," Hart says.
"We have chosen to provide a higher level of service for East St. Paul residents and we are fortunate to have many highly skilled medical responders on our fire department."
A provincial ambulance also responds to medical calls, but Hart says the ESP first responders are most often the first to arrive, providing care in those critical first minutes.
Fire Chief Ray Riddolls says the members are highly skilled and can be crucial to helping someone survive a medical emergency, but it's important that when you call for help, you give as much information as possible.
Members are notified of emergencies through two dispatch centres - the Provincial Enhanced (E911) Centre in Brandon, and for medical calls the Medical Transportation Coordination Centre (MTCC).
When you call 911 from your home phone, your address will be known to the dispatcher, but if you call from a cell phone you will have to provide your location.  Cell towers can provide an approximate location, but Riddolls says it is important to make sure the dispatcher has clear and accurate information so first responders can arrive as quickly as possible.
Firefighters and medical first responders are contacted by pager, email, text and phone, again, ensuring they get to the scene as fast as possible.


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