By Ronda Scholting
In 2018, our firefighters answered nearly 35,000 calls – the most we’ve ever had in one year. As our fire district continued to grow and change, West Metro Fire Rescue looked for innovative ways to serve, implementing a number of new programs, with the goal of improving the quality of life in the district.
In March 2018, West Metro introduced the innovative LUCAS device. The LUCAS is a chest compression system that helps our firefighter/paramedics and EMTs deliver continuous, high quality CPR to cardiac patients. The devices were placed on a number of ambulances, and within just two months, the LUCAS was key to saving the life of a husband and father who suffered cardiac arrest while on a Boy Scout camping trip. By the end of the year, the LUCAS assisted our crews with treating several patients who would not have survived without the device.
In May, West Metro launched our advanced resource medic – or ARM car. It’s a program that brings medical care to the patient, avoiding a trip to the emergency room and helping combat the high cost of health care. Through a public-private partnership with Dispatch Health, the ARM car goes where the patient is, diagnosing the illness or injury and treating on site – at home, or at work.
Because West Metro is an all hazard fire agency, our firefighters have to be ready for anything, whether it’s a house fire, a rope rescue or a swift water rescue. We have several special teams, and in 2018 not only did we respond to special team calls within our own district, we also sent firefighters to help out on wildfires across the country and to help out during a hurricane.
West Metro is the host agency for Colorado Task Force One, one of 28 Federal Emergency Management, or FEMA, urban search and rescue teams. In September, the team was sent to North Carolina to help in search and rescue and recovery from Hurricane Florence. Team members come from dozens of fire and rescue agencies across Colorado.
We believe in dedication to service and in 2018, West Metro was recognized with an ISO Class One rating – the highest level awarded nationally. Fire agencies are measured by their ability to protect the homes and property of residents and businesses. The number one rating means lower insurance premiums, and potentially millions of dollars in savings for the people we serve.
2018 was certainly a year of innovation for West Metro. And, as we move forward, we will continue to look for opportunities to improve on the high level of service that our residents and business owners have come to expect. We truly believe in “Whatever it takes to serve.”
Ronda Scholting is the West Metro Fire Rescue Communications/Media Relations Specialist.