Approximately 15,000 people live in the East Side Fire Protection
District and many of them will need help at some time or another. In 1998, East Side
Fire Department responded to a total of 988 calls: 64% of these calls
were medical calls, 36% were fire and other miscellaneous calls The average
response time was less than 4 minutes.
There are many things citizens can do to help the fire department help
you and other citizens in the community. Whenever there
is a fire or a medical emergency, there are things citizens can do, or
not do, which make a difference in how effective firefighters
can be in emergency situations.
Calling the Fire Department
East Baton Rouge Parish has an enhanced 9-1-1 system. This means that
the 9-1-1 operator (referred to as the "dispatcher") can
identify through the system's computer, the phone
number and address of the calling party. This assists in
timely dispatching of fire, police and EMS units to the emergency scene.
Common fire emergencies include structure fires, brush fires, trash
fires, and car fires. Common medical emergencies include heart attacks,
car accidents, respiratory difficulty, seizures and general illness.
When a call is received by the 9-1-1 dispatcher, they will say, "What is
your emergency, police, fire or medical?" The caller
should tell the dispatcher which type of
emergency they are reporting or give a description of the
problem, allowing the dispatcher to decide how to route the call. In
Baton Rouge, the 9-1-1 operator is actually an EMS dispatcher
assigned and trained to process all in-coming emergency calls.
If it is a fire or medical matter, they will stay on the line and take
information. If it is a police emergency, they will tell the caller
to stay on the line and will transfer the call to the police dispatcher.
The police department dispatcher
will come on the line and ask the caller if there is a police emergency.
A proper address and phone number will be
asked for to verify the 9-1-1 information.
The dispatcher will begin to dispatch emergency units immediately. If it
is a medical emergency, the dispatcher then will transfer
the caller to the medical dispatcher sitting nearby. The medical
dispatcher is specially trained for medical emergencies to provide
self-help instructions to the caller while units are en route.
East Side Fire Department fire engines are dispatched according to the
nature of the call. At least one fire unit and one rescue unit will
be sent to ensure that help arrives as soon as possible.
All East Side firefighters receive medical training and, at a minimum,
are First Responders. Most East Side firefighters are state and
nationally registered EMT's (Emergency Medical Technicians).
Some East Side firefighters receive additional training as paramedics.
They are capable of providing advanced life-support treatment including
IVs, drug therapy and cardiac monitoring while working on the East Baton
Rouge EMS units. In 1998 the level of care provided by East Side Fire
Department was: EMT-Basics responded to 71% of medical calls,
EMT-Paramedics responded to 25% of medical calls, and First Responders
responded to 4% of medical calls.
What You Should Do
Whenever a person calls 9-1-1, their message needs to be clear. They
also need to stay on the phone until the person in the
9-1-1 center has released them from the conversation.
Try to stay calm. State what kind of emergency it is - fire, car
accident, heart attack, difficulty breathing, diabetic in distress,
pass-out, etc. Then tell the dispatcher where the incident is.
Stay on the phone. The dispatcher may ask more questions or want you to
stay on the line. Emergency units already have been
dispatched even while you are talking with the dispatcher. Children
should be taught their home address and telephone number
as soon as possible. In most cases, when a caller dials 9-1-1, the
address and phone number of the caller's location is
displayed to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. However, this is not always verified
because of information that may be called in from
cellular or mobile phones.
When the fire department responds to a given location, it may be delayed
in arriving if the address is not clearly seen from the
street. Although it's fairly easy to spot a column of smoke from a house
fire, it's difficult to see someone's medical emergency from the
street. In a medical emergency, firefighters may waste critical time
having to knock on several doors to try and find a correct address.
Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street.
The numbers should be three or four inches in height and be reflective.
This problem is compounded in large condominium and apartment complexes.
Arriving at a correct address, the firefighters
find a huge residential facility with many buildings in the complex.
Make sure large identification lettering or
numbering is mounted on the side of the building. This is as important
as the street address. It would be even better if someone could be
standing near the street to direct the fire units to the appropriate apartment.
Code 3 means emergency response in an emergency vehicle. When an
emergency vehicle is driving with its lights flashing and
the siren going, that means it's going Code 3 to an emergency somewhere.
Someone needs help quickly.
When an emergency vehicle is heard and/or seen, drivers should carefully
pull their vehicle to the right side of the road and stop. Remain
stopped and wait until the emergency vehicles have passed. If
at an intersection, or stopped in traffic when they see lights or hear a
siren, drivers should remain stopped insuring the intersection is clear.
Do not make quick or erratic maneuvers. Drives should yield the
right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. Drivers also should stay at least
500 feet behind emergency vehicles.
A crash involving an emergency vehicle delays help to those who need it.
Firefighters are careful to avoid vehicle collisions by
driving slowly when traveling against traffic, or coming to a complete
stop at intersections. The cooperation of all vehicles on the
roadway is required. Be careful when driving by or around a motor
vehicle accident or any situation where emergency vehicles
are parked and the firefighters are working. Resist the impulse to
"rubber-neck". This can cause additional collisions.
Even though fire apparatus are placed to protect firefighters,
tragically, sometimes emergency crews have been hit and killed by passing vehicles.
Make sure fire hydrants have a three foot area clear of debris and
obstructions. Firefighters may need to get to the hydrant for
water supply. An obstruction of fencing, tree branches, bushes, weeds or
brush may cause a delay as firefighters try to get
water to extinguish a fire. Someone may be injured or killed because
water is not available as soon as possible.
A fire hydrant that is leaking, broken, missing caps or malfunctioning
should be reported to the Baton Rouge Water Company
at (225) 926-3044
Don't block a fire hydrant by parking a vehicle next to it. Vehicles
cannot be parked any closer than 15 feet to a fire hydrant
from any direction. Remember, your actions may cause a delay in being
able to supply water to an emergency that continues to
grow until intervention takes place.
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