Perry VFD starts first responder program

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2003

A few minutes may be the difference between life and death on emergency 911 calls involving life threatening illnesses or injuries.

The Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department is ready to do its part to make every second count.

After using grant programs over the past two years to acquire training and the necessary equipment, the fire department began participating in the first responder program this week.

Email newsletter signup

"If a call comes in where minutes might make a difference, we now have five EMTs, and two more in classes, that can respond from their homes and get to the patients quickly, often before an ambulance can," said Larry Anderson, assistant fire chief for Perry Township. "They can perform basic life-saving skills."

The first responders have access to oxygen tanks, trauma bags and an automatic external defibrillator that can be used to stabilize a patient until the EMS crews arrive, Anderson said.

"This is going to be great benefit to the residents of Perry Township,"

Anderson said. "They will be able to get immediate medical care with no additional cost to the residents."

Although the department will respond to any situation where they are needed, the majority of the calls will be in Perry and neighboring rural townships where it often takes longer for emergency crew to arrive.

Don Mootz, executive director of Emergency Services for Lawrence County, said that he is sure that the first responder program has been instrumental in saving lives throughout the county.

"It is a great program. These people can get there quickly because they are already in the community," Mootz said. "When you are saving lives, you do everything you can."

Anderson said the Perry fire department is not content to stop with this success and is looking into a first responder training program that would train additional members of the 22-person staff.

"We have a good base now," Anderson said. "We are hoping to expand on it in future years."