Hello Fort Myers Beach, San Carlos Island and surrounding areas!
In this installment, we will be highlighting one of the critical components of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department, our Emergency Medical Services. Most know how crucial these services are to our community, so what makes Emergency Medical Services and Transport such a high priority for our community and organization… it starts with a history of service.
The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department provided the first emergency medical transport service in Lee County. Our organization was also the first fire department to implement Paramedics in Lee County. This service has resulted in a high quality Continuum of Care for our patients. With a separated system (fire agency and independent transport agency), the Continuum of Care becomes inconsistent by having two different care providers for the patient. This requires a transfer of information and procedures, rather than the same Paramedics who began care, continuing care all the way to the hospital.
Further Emergency Medical Care initiatives have been seen in the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department’s constant attention to setting the standard in our area. This includes initiatives such as “PIT-Crew” Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), which encompasses a coordinated and systematic approach to all aspects of field care for cardiac emergencies. Your fire department has also employed video laryngoscope technology for advanced airway management, enhanced pediatric care procedures such as the implementation of the “Handtevy” Pediatric Care System, and even the first in Southwest Florida to use technology enhancements resulting in 12-lead Echocardiogram (EKG) transmissions to emergency room physicians prior to arrival at the hospital, speeding up patient care.
A key component to the priority of ambulance transport for the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department, and the “why” behind these historical aspects, begins with time. We know response and transport time is crucial in medical emergencies. Being remote from the mainland, transport delays could cause a significant impact on patient outcomes. The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department service delivery model includes multiple 24-hour ambulance crews available to our community. As an additional benefit, these crews are also trained, and equipped for firefighting, meeting fire suppression staffing standards.
Our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division is overseen by Division Chief Randy Kraus who has been with the EMS Division for several years. In January of this year, Division Chief Kraus was selected to conduct a National Webinar, educating other agencies on best practices in medication management procedures, which he implemented here at Fort Myers Beach.
The need to remain advanced in emergency medicine is further illustrated in the statistical data identifying every year, more than 250,000 people experience an “ST elevation myocardial infarction” or “STEMI”, which is the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. This condition makes it critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel, or by providing clot-busting medication.
In 2018, your fire department was recognized for receiving the American Heart Association’s Mission Lifeline Silver Award. The American Heart Association’s Mission Lifeline program recognizes agencies for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notifying the medical center, and triggering an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel. Our Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks in our community.
The Fort Myers Beach Fire Department is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients. We are honored that our efforts in patient care excellence have been recognized by the American Heart Association. We are very proud that the women and men of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department are able to offer such a tremendous service to our community.
To receive more information on our Emergency Medical Services, or any other services offered by the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department please contact us at (239) 590-4200, email us at Info@FMBFire.org, or visit us on the web at www.FMBFire.org. You can also subscribe to the Fire Chief’s “Scoop” to stay up to date on weekly activity.
Thank you for your support and make it a safe day!
FMBFD Fire Chief