Inter-agency Cooperation Enhances Emergency Response

It’s 7:00 in the morning.

Time for shift change at Medic 52. But, this shift change isn’t at Station 52. It’s at Spring Fire Department Station 73 at 4923 Treaschwig.

Welcome to Medic 52’s temporary quarters about a mile and a half east of Station 52, which has a date with a wrecking ball. Harris Country is widening Treaschwig which would bring the roadway right up to the front door of Station 52. So, the county paid for the property it is taking and Cypress Creek EMS will use that to build a new Station 52 further back on the remaining property.

The current Station 52 will have to be demolished. The double wide mobile home that sits behind the station and has served as crew quarters for many years is being sold.

Cypress Creek EMS Executive Director Brad England says, “We knew that we’d have to move our crews out for quite some time, so we contacted the Spring Fire Department which has a station right down the road.”

Spring Fire Chief Scott Seifert says, “When CCEMS asked if they could temporarily relocate their ambulance and personnel to Station 73 it was a no-brainer.  We work with their medics every day so it just seems natural that we share Station 73 with them for the 11 months or so that it will take to rebuild CCEMS Station 52.”

Spring Fire Department cleared out two rooms to provide space for two separate sleeping quarters, an office and a supply room. Medics are sharing the kitchen, break room and bathrooms with firefighters.

This is just one example of the tremendous level of cooperation that exists between first responders within the CCEMS coverage area. In fact, Spring Fire Department recently teamed up with Ponderosa Fire Department to share Ponderosa’s Station 62 until Spring’s Station 75 is torn down and rebuilt.

Another great partnership example can be found at Cypress Creek Fire Department’s Station 23. CCEMS recently added a second 24-hour field supervisor (District 52). D52 covers the territory west of Stuebner Airline. District 51’s territory is east of Stuebner Airline.

District 52 was previously a 12-hour position, so now D52 needed office space and a place to sleep. Cypress Creek Fire Department stepped up and cleared out one of its rooms at Station 23 as an office and sleeping area. Station 23 is on Cypresswood near Highway 249.

Cypress Creek Fire Chief Richard Lieder says,” We work seamlessly with Cypress Creek EMS on a daily basis to provide service to our community, so when CCEMS approached us about locating D52 in our area we were happy to be able to provide the office and sleeping space. Having a 24-hour EMS Supervisor in our area is a great upgrade to our service delivery capability and we look forward to continuing the great relationship between Cypress Creek Fire Department and CCEMS.”

Each of the eight fire departments within the CCEMS coverage area responds with us to the most serious medical calls. Whoever arrives first begins treatment, which is critical in cases such as cardiac arrest and serious trauma. The fire departments have staff members who are both firefighters and medics (EMTs and Paramedics).  And, CCEMS provides some Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the responding fire trucks.

In addition, CCEMS trains firefighters and police officers how to do CPR, use AEDs and stop severe bleeding with Combat Application Tourniquets. Having ALL first responders trained is a common sense idea that saves lives and it’s an idea that gained national attention from the Hartford Consensus which followed the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

Cypress Creek EMS is a leader in the nationwide “Stop the Bleed” program. We train approximately 400 police cadets each year at the University of Houston Downtown on how to stop severe bleeding with tourniquets and pressure bandages. That includes how to stop their own bleeding in case they are alone, injured and waiting for backup to arrive.

CCEMS also holds these training sessions for area law enforcement agencies. This is critically important because a patient with a compromised artery can bleed out and die in as little as 3 to 5 minutes. Arterial bleeds can occur as a result of a motor vehicle accident, home or industrial accident, shooting or stabbing. The “Stop the Bleed” program has the backing of the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

Now, CCEMS is taking the next step by training civilians who will, in turn, train the public in Bleeding Control (B-CON), a program of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT).

Recently, CCEMS Special Ops Coordinator Bobby Sellers conducted B-CON training for 36 members of the SETRAC Stop the Bleed Work Group and Trauma and Injury Prevention Committees.

SETRAC stands for SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council. It is a non-profit council which provides assistance in preparing our nine-county region for man-made and natural emergencies, disasters and mass casualty events. It is one of 22 such councils in Texas which also work to establish standards of care and protocols for hospitals, EMS agencies, and other providers.

CCEMS Special Operations Director Wren Nealy and Sellers participate on the SETRAC Stop the Bleed Work Group.

In the near future, Cypress Creek EMS will add B-CON training to its CPR/AED training for the public and encourages the public installation of Bleeding Control Kits next to every public access AED. This Bleeding Control kit is next to the AED at the CCEMS Education Center and Administration Building.

Cypress Creek EMS also has an internationally recognized Tactical Medic Team which was founded in 1995. The team works with local, state and federal agencies to provide emergency medical care on the front lines of dangerous situations such as arrests of violent offenders, hostage and active shooter situations.

The CCEMS Tactical EMS team was one of the first in the country and its established experts share their expertise by training medics, firefighters and police officers from all over the world in twice-yearly training sessions at Cypress Creek EMS. The next course is scheduled for September 25 – October 2, 2016.

The Cypress Creek EMS Comm Center handles dispatch for 15 other emergency agencies. Read more about that here.