Bradley County Fire Chief Troy Maney shared the podium with Bradley County EMS Chief Danny Lawson to address the county fire board about the recent launch of the First Response program.
“We keep trying to grow and move toward the future where we feel like the fire industry needs to be,” Maney said.
He noted the new program began Feb. 3.
“We wanted to make a difference in the community. With all of these new fire stations we’ve put out, if we can get to someone having a heart attack or in a life-threatening situation quicker than an ambulance can and administer some kind of help to them, that’s what we felt like we needed to do as a department,” Maney said.
He said Lawson was “on board” to work with the department.
“We came up with the standard protocols to use,” Maney said.
He added although the total number of calls through the new program’s first month are not yet available, “we feel like we’ve made a difference on a couple of calls we have gone on so far. It’s hard to put a price tag on somebody’s life.”
Lawson said he sees the positive of first responders being able to get to a scene before EMS arrives.
“During the snow, a lady went off the road and the child with her had inadequate respiration and was already blue,” Lawson recalled. “The fire department administered mouth-to-mouth on that child. In a situation like that, you have two to four minutes. It was severely injured, but any chance of life it had was greatly aided by being able to be on the scene quicker.”
He said the average response time is six minutes.
“Sometimes you don’t have six minutes,” Lawson said.
The board voted to begin giving regular update reports to the County Commission about the department and the First Responder program.
Maney reported the department would be hosting a Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads training session involving structural collapses and swift water rescues.
“We are going to send 10 people through this training,” Maney said. “If we paid to send them, it would cost over $2,000. With us being able to host it in house, our cost is going to be about $680, and we’ll get excellent training out of this.”
He said the department is getting more and more swiftwater calls each year, making that training an increasingly important part of its duties.