Salisbury Press

Monday, November 11, 2019

Is the Western Salisbury Fire Department a fire or a medical unit?

Thursday, August 1, 2019 by JIM MARSH Special to The Press in Local News

Sometimes things get a little blurry when looking at the roster of the Western Salisbury Fire Department.

Some see a medical unit that also fights fires – while some see a fire unit that also runs medical calls.

On the roster are the chief’s designation as an emergency medical responder, 10 emergency medical technicians and two professional paramedics.

Of those, one is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who was in charge of the Army’s Pennsylvania medical service, a fourth-year medical student, a second-year nurse practitioner student and newly certified physician assistant Nicholas Fisher.

Of the 243 emergency calls dispatched for the Western Salisbury Fire Department January through June, 22 were serious medical emergencies involving cardiac arrest or unconscious persons.

A number of medical calls in recent years have resulted in “saves,” where the victim would likely not survived without the intervention of a firefighter.

A number of those saves involved a firefighter’s decision, upon hearing pager dispatch details, to go right to the location of the victim, rather than to the station for an emergency vehicle. Timely initiation of CPR, or use of automatic electronic defibrillators, have resulted in a number of cardiac victim’s survival, according to attending ambulance crews and hospital emergency medical personnel.