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Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022

VWFD celebrates milestone achievement

Jon Jones/special to the VW independent

The Van Wert Fire Department is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Ambulance with Paramedics.

In 1971, the Van Wert Fire Department was the second department in the State of Ohio to have personnel trained as EMT-Paramedics, second only to Columbus Fire Department. Van Wert Fire Department was the first rural department in the nation to provide this service for its community.

These pictures provide a look back in time to two of the emergency vehicles used by the Van Wert Fire Department. Photos provided

Paramedic is a combination of two terms, “para” meaning alongside of and “medic” meaning doctor. The paramedic’s role is to provide life-saving treatment for someone until they can get to a doctor. They may not physically work next to the physician but they can communicate via phone, radio, or pre-written orders.

The first paramedics were trained by two local doctors, Dr. Alford C. Diller and Dr. Wayne Ayers, along with the assistance of RN Diane Grothaus. The training was held at the Van Wert County Hospital. Original requirements for these 10 paramedics included 80 hours of training. Today paramedics complete nearly two years of rigorous schooling involving over 550 hours of classroom work and over 550 hours of clinical time.

Paramedics have extensive pre-hospital skills including administering medications for drug overdose or poisoning, CPR, interpreting electrocardiograms (EKGs), pacing the heart, using a defibrillator, performing a tracheotomy, starting an IV (intravenous) or IO (intraosseous) line, performing basic medical tests and advanced airway skills.

Paramedics possess strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills allowing them to react in stressful situations.

In 1971, the startup ambulance and equipment cost the City of Van Wert $8,000. This EMS unit carried five heart medications and made 120 runs with two documented lives saved by the paramedics. Today, 50 years later, that same ALS ambulance and equipment cost approximately nearly $400,000 and carries nearly 40 medications. In 2020, the VWFD made 2,017 emergency response runs. The Van Wert Fire Department responds to all non-breathing, pulseless patients and/or incidents requiring advanced life support in Van Wert County.

Robert Becker, Captain Paul Baer, Roger Beougher, David Freeman, Robert Barker, Richard Schaadt, George Noggle, Jim Dull, Kenneth Stahl and, Charles Studenka were the first 10 paramedic trained firefighters in 1971.

Today the Van Wert Fire Department (Full-time and Reserve personnel) has the following personnel:

Sixteen EMT-Paramedics: Chief Jon Jones, Captain Craig King, Captain David Cummings, Captain Brian Ankney, Lieutenant Nick Steyer, Lieutenant Rob Miller, Lieutenant Austin Miller, Jeff Henderson, Ed Carter, Doug Edelbrock, Zach Merkle, Kory Smith and Reserves John Lahmon, Nate Wiechart, Dalton Yenser, and Rick Busch.

Four EMT-Advanced: Jeff Ricker, Gary Gasser, Addison King, and reserve Alexander Greutman.

Nine EMT-Basics: Brett Schumm, Ethan Fraker, Trevor Spridgeon, Gabe Steyer and reserve Brock Profit, Ryan Fair, Brian Honigford, Matt Saunier, and Seth Stukey.

Presently, the department has three personnel; Addison King, Brett Schumm, and Ethan Fraker in the EMT-Paramedic program and will be graduating in 2022.

POSTED: 12/02/21 at 9:47 am. FILED UNDER: News