Fire Department increases medical response capability

WIESBADEN, Germany – USAG Wiesbaden Firefighter Philipp Strobel and two colleagues practice a medical emergency. (PHOTO Credit: USAG Wiesbaden Fire Department)

The USAG Wiesbaden Directorate of Emergency Services coordinates closely with the Polizei, fire and medical services of the city of Wiesbaden.

However, even though the Fire Department has its own emergency response capabilities, it relies on support from the city of Wiesbaden.

Fire Chief Daniel Corzelius explains that the U.S. Army does not have its own ambulance service. “Therefore, we rely on the support of the medical services of Wiesbaden and the surrounding communities,” said Corzelius.

With Clay Kaserne located on the outskirts of Wiesbaden, it can take the city’s emergency services several minutes to respond to a medical emergency on Clay. In order to shorten this time, the Directorate of Emergency Services established a so-called ‘first responder concept’.

“Thus, we have implemented a mitigation concept by training and certifying our firefighters as Emergency Medical Technicians Intermediate.” Additionally, the fire trucks are equipped with advance medical equipment, such as a defibrillator, oxygen and spine boards,” said Corzelius.

So far, the fire department has 11 fully trained and certified Emergency Medical Technicians Intermediate. On Feb. 12, firefighter Philipp Strobel completed the Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate Course with a certification from the state of Hessen as EMT-I.

“The training was highly challenging. Learning all this information in such a short time was very trying,” Strobel says. “Between the modules, I worked regular shift duty and had the chance to learn from my colleagues who are already fully certified. They helped me to form a firm basis of the techniques that I acquired during training.”

Corzelius explains that the training is a vital part in enhancing the response capability of the Fire Department and to provide maximum emergency medical response services.

“The Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate certification is based on a 520-hour training, consisting of four modules,” said Corzelius. These modules include classroom training in anatomy, medical treatment and emergency life support, as well as practical training in an emergency room and various other medical units of a hospital. After that, the trainee has to do a four-weeks-long internship with an emergency physician in an ambulance vehicle.

In the end, the trainee takes a one-week long test consisting of theoretical questions and practical tests on different scenarios. Upon successfully passing the test, the EMT will receive his official certificate from the State of Hessen.

However, even with this certification, EMTs have to participate in a 40-hour refresher training once a year in order to keep their license.

“Our firefighters have to be multi-talented,” said Corzelius. “This EMT-I training is only a portion of certifications they have to gain and maintain, which include the certification of Firefighter I and II, Airport Firefighter, Hazardous Material Technician, Rescue Technician, Aerial Operator and several other trainings and certifications needed to respond to all sorts of emergency situations, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

In an emergency situation on post, contact the fire department at DSN 112 or 0611-143-548-0112 from a cell phone. Off-post, please contact the German fire and medical emergency hotline 112.