After 48 hours of classroom instruction and practical training, 12 volunteers with the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department are now trained as medical first responders.
Established in 1967 to provide fire protection, the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department’s role has grown over the years to also include response to wrecks, hazardous material scenes and other emergencies. Chief Chris Jones said the expanded responsibilities are part of a growing trend nationwide where fire departments are called upon to do more for the community. In the past two years, Jones said, the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah department has taken on a fire/rescue role and began providing vehicle extrication services at wrecks after receiving a grant for the required equipment.
Now, the department has further expanded its role to include response to medical emergencies at homes and businesses in the fire district. Prior to the first responder training, Jones said, the fire department did not respond to medical emergencies unless requested by EMS.
“Now our goal is to have a trained medical first responder from the fire department on scene within five to 10 minutes to locations in the Abney, Buffalo, Gates Ford, Mt, Pisgah and Timrod communities,” Jones said. “Our job will be to provide life-saving measures and patient assessment until KershawHealth paramedics arrive to further evaluate and transport the patients.”
Jones said studies have shown that medical assistance provided within the first 10 minutes of an emergency can greatly impact the outcome of the situation.
“I would like to recognize and thank our volunteers for taking the time to attend this training and for stepping up to help the people in our community. We are excited to begin this new service in our response area,” Jones said. “I would also like to thank Training Officer Russell Ferguson and other KershawHealth staff for coordinating and providing the training.”