O’Fallon Fire Protection District Hires Seven New Firefighter/Paramedics, Receives State Paramedic License, Opens Updated Fire Station
Over the past month, the O’Fallon Fire Protection District (OFPD) has enhanced emergency response services with the addition of seven experienced firefighter/paramedics, the implementation of paramedic-level emergency medical care, and completion of the renovation at Station #5 at 7140 South Outer Rd. 364.
“We now have 12 well-trained paramedics in the field with access to the equipment and technology to provide advanced emergency medical services such as administering medicine, securing an open airway and starting an IV. Also, we are closer to having the appropriate number of firefighters on our trucks to provide the most effective emergency response. The opportunity to provide this level of service is going to make a life-saving difference in our community,” OFPD Chief Tom Vineyard says.
The funding for the shift to paramedic-level emergency care and additional firefighter/ paramedics was made possible by the community’s approval of Proposition Safety in November 2016, while funding for facility and equipment updates continues to come from a bond issue that was approved in 2011.
“We have been carefully planning for the future of the District, and the emergency needs of our community, which is why we are strategically phasing in the implementation of the paramedic-level medical program along with facility and equipment updates,” Vineyard says.
The hiring of the new firefighter/paramedics is helping the District reach its goals of meeting national staffing standards and having a paramedic on every firetruck. Six additional firefighter/paramedics are scheduled to be hired in 2019 when updates to the District’s fire stations are complete. These updates will provide the space needed to house the nationally recommended four firefighters per shift. Every new firefighter the District hires will also be a licensed paramedic.
In addition to hiring additional responders, the District is now licensed by the state to provide paramedic-level care, and has advanced life support emergency medical equipment and medications on every fire truck. This includes state-of-the-art heart monitors that work with equipment at the hospital to instantly provide information to doctors in the emergency room.
In the area of facilities, the District reopened the now updated Fire Station #5 on the South Outer Road. The station, which was built more than 20 years ago, underwent a major renovation to update the living space and add one more bunk room. Fire Station #1 at 1200 North Main St. underwent minor modifications to add a bunk room, and the living quarters at Fire Station #4 located at 1306 Sunview Dr. is scheduled for a full replacement in the next two years. Late last year, a 15-year-old rescue pumper was replaced. The new firetruck can hold up to five firefighter/paramedics and is more efficient than the previous pumper truck.