Fire department to form citizen-based support team

Fire chief Christopher Carleton is inviting community members to an informational meeting about the Incident Support Team he plans to create to broaden community involvement in fire department operations.

“Many resident members of our community would like to chip in but may not have the time or inclination to go through all the training required to be a frontline responder/provider or be able to meet all the physical demands inherent in firefighting and emergency care,” he said. “I am exploring ways that a wider range of community volunteers can contribute and, by doing so, help us gain the most from our fully trained emergency responders.”

One example of how members of the proposed support team could help is in “fireground rehabilitation.” During fire and rescue incidents responders are continuously monitored and steps taken to make sure they have regular respite, adequate hydration and replenished air packs, and in other ways address the physical rigors of their job.

“We currently must take fully certified responders away from our limited pool to attend to these functions,” Carleton said. “Every responder taken away from frontline duty reduces our critical capacity to intervene. This program would train willing volunteers to provide this essential, non-fire-fighting help, freeing frontline responders to do those things that only they can do.”

Another example is hospital transports, during which typically a firefighter, EMT or engineer serves as driver. Members of the proposed team could be trained to drive the ambulance, leaving first responders on the Point.

The informational meeting will be held on Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m. at the Benson Road fire station. Team members would not require training as a firefighter or EMT but would require CPR and first aid training and potentially training in driving an emergency vehicle.

“Point Roberts is a community in which citizens are highly involved, closely knit and anxious to make a difference,” Carleton said. “We are always looking for ways to include more of the Point’s greatest asset – the people who make up our community – in our efforts to keep them healthy, keep them safe and ensure that we are always ready when needed.”

For more information, call Carleton at 945-3473 or email chief@wcfd5.com.

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