The Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association (CIFFA) is proposing to add ‘First Responder’ to our service provision as authorized by the SRD.
Fire departments are often able to respond to emergencies more quickly than ambulances. The First Responder program was developed to enable fire departments to provide emergency medical care to the public until the arrival of the ambulance. More specifically First Responders are trained to “perform an organized and prioritized patient assessment; intervene in life-threatening traumatic injuries and medical conditions; manage a patient in cardiac arrest including CPR and the use of Automatic External Defibrillation (AED); recognize and manage a patient with a spinal injury; and record and report patient information.” (From Justice Institute of BC First Responder training course outline).
First Responder services in no way jeopardize the Cortes Island ambulance service (BC Emergency Health Services), in fact the local ambulance is very much in support of the proposal.
What will a First Responder service cost? CIFFA has been preparing for this development for some time and now have all of the equipment to add this service, paid for through fundraising and grant applications. We are now proposing to begin training our volunteers and Duty Officers to the First Responder standard (an eight day course). The first wave of training will be done by off-island trainers and will cost approximately $20,000. We intend that some of our own people will become trainers so that further training costs will be minimized.
There will be additional ongoing costs associated with adding First Responder services of approximately $21,000 per year : – the fire department will be responding to more calls (about double the volume), so there will be more wear and tear on vehicles and equipment, plus more fuel used – We will be increasing the Duty Officer pay to reflect the higher level of responsibility, training and call outs. – Replacement of medical equipment associated with F.R. calls. -Ongoing training costs (re-certification every 3 years using our new on-island trainers).
First, CIFFA will consult with the public to gauge the level of support for the program. Second, if there is solid public support then CIFFA will confer with the SRD and develop a service agreement. Third, the SRD and Director Anderson develop a plan to pay for this service through taxation. Finally we will complete the required training and become First Responders!