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June 1, 2012 > Fremont Fire Rookie Journal

Fremont Fire Rookie Journal

After completing the first rotation of my two-year probation on Truck 51, I was placed at Fire Station 3, working on Engine 53 in Irvington, to focus on paramedic skills. The objective during this rotation of probation is to learn Alameda County Emergency Medical System protocols and gain an understanding of methods that the Fremont Fire Department (FFD) uses to deliver the highest quality of patient care possible. Even though I have about eight years of experience as a paramedic working in other EMS systems, I had to demonstrate that I could provide good patient care and have a thorough grasp of the protocols before I would be certified to work as a solo paramedic member of FFD.

One aspect I admire most about FFD is its passion to deliver the highest quality patient care possible and continually progress and improve care. This trend goes all the way back to the 80's when Fremont was one of the first fire departments in the country to staff their engine companies with paramedic/firefighters to provide advance life support care to the community. A passion for excellence has continued with the use of state-of-the-art equipment and training including the Autopulse CPR board from Zoll. Fremont was one of the first EMS agencies in the country to use this device and actually helped in its development. Autopulse provides higher quality chest compressions (administered during cardiac arrest) than humans and frees a crewmember to perform other critical tasks. In addition to cutting edge technology, I appreciate the importance FFD places on Emergency Medical Services; a dedicated training division ensures that line personnel receive the most up-to-date instruction to maintain superior proficiency.

Fortunately, during my paramedic evaluation, I had the benefit of an excellent crew to show me the ropes. Decades of experience and their passion for EMS helped me to quickly learn the system. The rotation started with an intense experience as my first call as lead paramedic on the crew was for a traumatic cardiac arrest when an elderly female was struck by a car while crossing the street. Unfortunately, the injuries the patient received were too great to revive her. However, in several other incidents, we were able to regain a pulse and viable blood pressure in patients after sudden cardiac arrests. During these calls, our crew worked smoothly and efficiently and I witnessed the incredible advantage of the Autopulse following a cardiac arrest. After several shifts with my new crew, I began to feel comfortable in the EMS system, not only with the treatment protocols but also with our tiered system. Generally in Fremont, the fire department is first to arrive on scene following a 911 call; we start patient care and within minutes, an ambulance from Paramedics Plus (a county contracted ambulance service) arrives on scene. We transfer responsibility for patient care and transport to a nearby hospital unless the patient is extremely ill. In such cases, the fire department paramedic will ride to the hospital with the ambulance to assist. This system appears to be efficient and patient-care oriented; I believe that citizens of Fremont are the beneficiaries of top quality EMS care.

Following my 20-shift paramedic rotation on Engine 53, I successfully completed a comprehensive exam including a written test and several hands-on skills evaluations. I am now certified to work as a paramedic for the Fremont Fire Department.

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