On Friday, June 30, Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) began responding to medical calls with Advanced Life Support (ALS) capabilities. MFRD has been working toward the goal of upgrading its response level for some time in order to put cross-trained firefighter/paramedics on the scene of the medical calls they currently respond to. Four of the city’s busiest stations (Vine Street, Mercury Boulevard, E Northfield Boulevard, and Cason Lane), which respond to approximately 75% of all medical related calls in Murfreesboro, were staffed with trained personnel and supplied with the advanced equipment prior to Friday’s launch.
For nearly fourteen (14) years, the department has responded as emergency first responders to medical calls along with Rutherford County EMS, who provides paramedic transport in Murfreesboro. MFRD most often arrives on the scene of an incident within five (5) minutes or less to begin life-saving treatment. MFRD, with the support of the City of Murfreesboro leaders, began upgrading their response in 2014 to basic life support (BLS) and then in October of 2016, to Advanced-EMT response.
To further the department’s medical response capabilities, MFRD held its first in-house EMT training through a partnership with Motlow State Community College. Twenty-three firefighters began the training in January and after completing a National Registry testing process will go on to attend the advanced portion which begins in September. Motlow also provides training and continuing education credits to the department’s currently licensed personnel.
In addition to advanced skills training, the department has also enhanced its equipment cache’. This lifesaving equipment includes the purchase of Zoll cardiac monitors to quickly identify a heart attack or other arrhythmias through a 12-lead EKG, as well as advanced airway tubes and frontline medications to treat life-threatening situations such as cardiac events, allergic reactions, and diabetic & insulin shock.
Chief Mark Foulks, who is a Paramedic himself, has made it a high priority to enhance MFRD’s level of medical response to the citizens and visitors of Murfreesboro since taking over the department in 2015. “This is highly beneficial for our community as numerous lives will be saved through our Advanced EMS programs,” said Foulks. “MFRD is very fortunate to have the continued support of our Mayor, City Council, and City Administration.”
In 2016, MFRD responded to just under 12,100 emergency responses with 9,700 (80%) of the total being medical in nature.
Pictured (L to R): Assistant Chief Kim Lawson, Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks, Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Gingrow, Firefighter/Paramedic Julia Pitt, Captain/Paramedic Josh Oliver, and Medical Training Coordinator Jeff Wright.