Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Supervisors discuss possible first responder training for fire department

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Oct 10, 2017

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors Lee Dimmitt and Dee Sandquist discussed the possibility of offering an Emergency Medical Training course for Fairfield Fire Department employees.

Supervisor Dick Reed was absent.

“This is not a reflection of the people in the county who provide ambulance services like CARE [Ambulance, LLC] or Midwest [Ambulance], this is just one more layer of protection or an opportunity, if we could provide it, that would benefit the people of Jefferson County,” Dimmitt said.

Dimmitt said that he had a meeting Wednesday with Jason Crandal of the Fairfield Fire Department and Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Bret Ferrell about the possibility of training firefighters.

Dimmitt said Fire Chief Scott Vaughan was also in agreement with the possible opportunity.

“This is yet to be determined,” Dimmitt said. “We would require funding to do this.”

Sandquist said that the EMT training would be a good idea.

Dimmitt said he planned to reach out to various organizations, such as the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission and the South Iowa Response Group in Ottumwa about grant possibilities.

Dimmit said he would also look into additional funding from the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, The Jefferson County Ambulance Board, the city of Fairfield and the Jefferson County Health Center.

“I would do that if we were short,” Dimmitt said of the ambulance board, if the EMT training fees still came up short after all other resources were exhausted.

“The ambulance board just authorized the purchase of radios for ambulance units in town,” Dimmitt said. “I reached out to Tony Miller who runs SIRG, the HAZMAT operation that Jefferson County belongs to, see if he knew of opportunities from some of his counterparts.”

Jefferson County Attorney Timothy Dille said that the idea would likely qualify for funding from the Greater Jefferson County Foundation, as well.

“Is this just for the city or for the county?” asked Jefferson County Veterans Affairs Director Ray Chambers, adding that firefighters in Packwood, Batavia and other cities in the county might be interested in the training, too.

“Why don’t you get me the numbers of those interested in Batavia and Lockridge,” Dimmitt said, explaining that it would be beneficial for those areas, because when firefighters are typically the first to arrive at the scene of an accident, and if they were already trained as first responders, it would help.

“The city of Fairfield already contributes toward the ambulance service,” Dimmitt said after the meeting. “I would expect those other municipalities to step in.”

Fairfield CARE manager Jerry Goetsch said that EMT training would take around 3 months,

“We should contact Indian Hills [Community College] Sandquist said, adding that the college might be willing to come to Fairfield to train a large group.

Goetsch said that he is an EMT instructor, and that he would be willing to teach the course.

“How far are we gonna go with it? There are parts of Brighton included in Jefferson County,” Dille said.

Dimmitt said that so far there were 13 firefighters interested in Fairfield.

Dimmitt said that if it were going to happen that it would likely start next year.

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