Arissa Viering | Goodday Mineral Wells | 10/14/2020 |Palo Pinto County EMS Updates
PALO PINTO, TX – At the last Palo Pinto County Commissioner’s Court, Ken Backes announced the creation and operational date of the Palo Pinto County First Responder Organization (FRO). As of today, the organization is fully operational and will continue to expand throughout all of Palo Pinto County. As a much needed resource, their services are needed more than ever.
“We have put a lot of energy into making this first responder program a reality.”Ken Backes, Palo Pinto County FRO – ESD No. 1
In a press release from the FRO, the organization states the following:
The newly created Palo Pinto County First Responder Organization (FRO) starts service today in the Lake Palo Pinto Fire District. The FRO, part of Palo Pinto County Emergency Service District (ESD) No. 1, will respond to 911 requests for emergency medical services in their district to provide initial basic life support treatment until arrival of an ambulance. “Lake Palo Pinto Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) is the first department in the county to participate in this county-wide FRO.” said Chief Gary Lee, the Palo Pinto County Fire Chief and EMS Coordinator, who also serves as the FRO Administrator. He added, “There are several other departments in the county getting ready to participate in the FRO as we increase capability.” The ESD established the FRO to reduce response times for emergency care to people in need. Tye Jackson, ESD #1 Board President said, “Our county is spread out and while our primary ambulance provider, Sacred Cross EMS, has a good track record of response times under 15 minutes, having the FRO in the local communities reduces that response time even more and also puts a ‘local face’ on scene to provide care.” The ESD funded the training, purchased the equipment, and secured insurance for the FRO. “We wanted to make everything easy for the fire departments, so all they have to provide is the volunteers and a response vehicle, the ESD covers everything else,” added Jackson.
The FRO operates with state certified EMS personnel, from Emergency Care Attendant through Paramedics. It has a full complement of medical supplies and equipment, including automated external defibrillators, to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) treatment until an ambulance arrives to continue treatment at the Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level. Mistie Garland, Palo Pinto County Emergency Management Coordinator, said “We partnered with our ambulance provider to help train personnel at the VFDs which has the bonus of familiarizing the FRO volunteers and the ambulance personnel with each other.” She added, “It makes for a much smoother ‘hand-off’ when the medics know each other at the scene.” Jackson also said, “We are starting out with the FRO at the BLS level to get us going. Our next step will be to move up to ALS capabilities so we can utilize our volunteer Advanced EMTs and Paramedics with their full set of skills.”
The Lake Palo Pinto VFD, led by Fire Chief Doug Henderson, actively supported the program from its inception. Chief Henderson said, “Thirty percent of our members are participating. I think this is noteworthy and gives us an additional recruitment tool.” He also said, “One other point I feel strongly about is our community! I think it is critical that VFDs are seen as integral to the community, since we ARE the community! The FRO provides a needed quality service to our residents and their families.”
As the FRO adds departments, Chief Lee foresees the entire area where ESD#1 is responsible for providing EMS to have FRO capabilities. “Having the FRO in the local communities will make a real difference in the community,” he added.
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