Colbert County looks to give volunteer firefighters EMT training

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A program has been approved in Colbert County which will help residents in need of emergency services. If it works as proposed, it will cut down on medical response times by volunteer fire departments.

The Colbert County 911 Center is the nucleus for emergency response in the county. Dispatchers handle almost all of the emergency calls that people make and then dispatch them to departments. There’s one type of call which comes in way more than others.

“If you look at the numbers there are quite a few medical across the board,” explained Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton.

Up to 90% of the calls coming in each day are medical in nature. In rural areas, volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel are dispatched to help. Which got Melton thinking, why not pay for volunteer firefighters to get EMT training and certification?

“These firefighters, they get paid nothing,” stated Melton. “If we could do a little incentive to get them to want to do this, I see it as all positive myself.”

Melton said EMT’s could begin treating patients for most anything before paramedics arrive. His hope is to spread the EMT’s across the county by stationing them at the volunteer fire departments.

“It’s just a way to try to make our communities a little bit better as far as our response and capabilities out there.”

Melton has gotten approval to use grant money to send two candidates to EMT school this year. And depending on how well the program goes, they will likely continue it in the future.

A committee made up of the Colbert County Volunteer Fire Departments will choose two candidates for the EMT training. If selected, the EMT students will have to sign a two-year commitment to work at a Colbert County volunteer fire department.

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