East Marion Fire Department now answering Advanced Life Support calls

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO East Marion Fire Department ex-chief and rescue squad lieutenant Greg Wallace became one of the first department members to receive Advanced Life Support training. The department began answering ALS calls earlier this month.

Cardiac patients and residents facing severe health crises in East Marion can rest easier this month knowing that their local ambulance corps has stepped up treatment efforts.
The East Marion Fire Department, which recently received a $54,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the federal government, began answering Advanced Life Support calls two weeks ago, thanks to the new equipment and the intense training that members of the department have undergone in the past several years. Previously, ALS calls in East Marion had been answered by the Greenport Fire Department’s Rescue Squad.
The department is also partnering with Greenport to answer ALS calls outside its boundaries as well, dramatically increasing the pool of highly trained ambulance personnel who can respond to calls in both Greenport and East Marion.
Greg Wallace, a rescue squad lieutenant who is an ex-chief of the East Marion Fire Department, has spent the past three years pushing to expand the department’s services. He was one of the first three members of the department to receive ALS certification and has been riding as an ALS provider with the Greenport rescue squad for the past year. Now, with the new partnership with Greenport, both departments will have a total of 9 ALS providers on call to answer emergency calls.
“It’s a huge commitment. You have to take a 500 hour class,” he said of the ALS certification. “But it really, really helps the community.”
New cardiac monitors that wirelessly transmit patient information to the county’s medical control center at Stony Brook University Hospital made up the bulk of the new equipment purchased through the grant. Mr. Wallace said that the equipment will be like having a doctor on board for ambulance calls.
“Doctors are getting your information before you’ve even left your front door,” said East Marion Fire Department Chief Keith Baker. “East Marion is only two to three miles to the hospital, but you’re being treated 15 to 25 minutes sooner than you would have. If you have a heart attack that’s a tremendous amount of time.”

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