In 1996, the Morristown Fire Department began a Medical First Responder program designed to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) services quickly to the citizens of Morristown. Each response engine is stocked with BLS equipment used for treatment and packaging of individuals involved in immediate life-threatening medical situations. This equipment includes trauma kits, oxygen delivery devices, packaging and splinting tools and an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).Working under the direction of the Morristown-Hamblen Emergency Medical Service, the fire department responds to only high priority calls such as Motor Vehicle Accidents, major physical traumas, cardiac incidents and other immediately life threatening situations. The fire unit will provide BLS until an Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic unit arrives on-scene. After paramedics arrive, fire personnel will assist them with treatment and packaging, and in extreme cases, assisting until the patient is handed-off to the receiving emergency room.
One of the most crucial pieces on the fire apparatus is the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). For this device to work effectively, it has to be administered to heart attack/cardiac patients within minutes of the attack. Studies have shown that a patient’s survival rate after a major heart attack raises from 3% to 25% in communities where AED’s are employed on First Response vehicles.