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Facing medic shortage, Ind. FD urges increased EMS certification, starts ambulance service

Tri-Township Fire and Rescue fire chief required EMTs to become Advanced EMTs


Tri-Township Fire & Rescue/Facebook

By Erik Hackman
The Evening News and the Tribune

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. — To better serve the communities it covers, Tri-Township Fire and Rescue has started an ambulance service.

After noticing a shortage of paramedics, Fire Chief Amir Mousavi, required that all of his firefighter EMTs become advanced EMTs.

This allowed them to do basic medications and more advanced airway management. This was to help cut down on response time and help people who may need more care when responding to a call.

In the past 12 months, the fire department has seen about five or six incidences of people that went into cardiac arrest, Mousavi said. Because of the advanced EMTs they were able to get a heartbeat back before they were sent to the hospital.

“About two years ago we took the initiative by talking to our staff and asking them to volunteer and become paramedics,” Mousavi said. “We had three people agree that they want to take on that mission.”

They sent them to paramedic school where they obtained the skills to handle more advanced situations as well as carry 20 to 25 different medications.

After all of this, there was still a shortage of paramedics. Then the fire department ordered two used ambulances to help fill in the gap.

One is being inspected and the other will be at the fire department in about two to three weeks.

“They’re not the greatest or prettiest, but they will get the job done,” Mousavi said. “The mission is not to have somebody suffer on the scene, if we’re able to get them to the hospital rapidly.”

Currently, they are classified as EMS paramedic-level non-transport agency. Tri-Township is working on changing that to be classified as an EMS transport agency.

When they have their two ambulances and are a transport agency, they will use their service to help the communities in other ways that are not firefighter-related.

The fire department will also be starting a joint academy that will train new employees there on EMT services as well as firefighting. That is expected to start in April.

“This is a great, unique situation in our community,” Mousavi said. “We are able to do our part really to help the community. Not only ours but the whole county will benefit from this.”

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