SPOKANE, Wash. – Every second counts for first responders.
Spokane Fire District 4 covers more than 300 square miles and one truck in the fleet is helping crews cover more ground in less time: Medic 42.
The truck joined the fleet in 2011, but the district is now starting to get a picture of just how much it has improved emergency responses. Before Medic 42, the district had to wait for an ambulance to come in from Deer Park.
Most first responders for Spokane Fire District 4 are volunteers that live in the community they serve.
“We, for the most part, come from the community. So, we’re looking out for the community that we represent. I think that makes a big difference,” said volunteer Richard Stone. “That probably ups the ante a little bit, when you’re going out on a call, because it could be someone that you know personally.”
Stone was on shift when he got a call to his own address to help an unconscious 49-year-old woman. He immediately understood it was his wife he was rushing to help.
“It turned out to be that she slipped on some water and fell and hit her head. But, as far as not knowing what had happened, when you get a call like that, it really, really sharpens your senses,” said Stone.
Stone’s wife was alright, but it is calls like that which make District 4 so glad they have the Medic 42 vehicle and can get medical help to residents quickly.
District 4 said the vehicle has saved taxpayers around $300,000 per year because it is often operated by volunteers and it has shaved 15 minutes off the district’s response time.
Last year, Medic 42 ran 1,487 calls. This year, it has been 335 so far.
Stone said he wants people to not be afraid to call for medical help. He said too often people wait, hoping their symptoms go away and that wastes precious time that can make all the difference in emergency situations.