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Sheriff’s deputies training to become certified EMTs

March 31, 2016
By A.J. Rao (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican

Having an emergency medical technician or EMT respond quickly to a scene can make the difference between life and death.

Fortunately, the EMTs in Chautauqua County, which are predominantly part of local fire services, are about to get some additional support from their fellow first responders.

Joe Gerace, Chautauqua County sheriff, announced during a recent press conference in Mayville that Sheriff's deputies are now conducting training to become certified EMTs.

Article Photos

Photo by A.J. Rao
Joe Gerace, Chautauqua County sheriff, announced during a press conference in Mayville that Sheriff’s deputies are now conducting training to become certified EMTs. Pictured, from left, are Chuck Holder, undersheriff; Julius Leone, director of emergency services; Dr. Brian Walters, medical director with Chautauqua County Emergency Services; Gerace; Dr. Michael Faulk, medical director with Chautauqua County EMS; and Dan Imfeld, deputy fire coordinator-HAZMAT for Chautauqua County.

The training, which is being conducted in conjunction with Chautauqua County Emergency Services, is expected to bring an additional layer of EMTs to the community, and accordingly, quicker response times.

"We believe this is going to make a huge impact on people's lives here in Chautauqua County," Gerace said. "In many areas of the state and the nation, there is a real struggle to get EMTs out to a scene, especially during times when they're working or it's the middle of the night. Our goal here is to train as many deputies as we can as EMTs so they can respond along with the fire services."

Gerace indicated that deputies often arrive at crises prior to fire and emergency services, making their EMT qualifications all the more critical.

Eight deputies have already been certified. Five more, including Gerace himself, have signed on for the next class on March 29.

While the training is voluntary for current deputies, Gerace said he plans to make it an integral part of the Sheriff's Academy training.

"Every new deputy will be an EMT," he said. "Eventually, every police officer in Chautauqua County will be an EMT. We're already seeing many of these individuals join fire departments, which is a double blessing for us."

Gerace was joined at the press conference by Julius Leone, county director of emergency services, who commended the Sheriff's Office for its dedication to the new training.

"We've already seen a couple success stories by having Sheriff's deputies trained and on the street," Leone said. "As calls go up and the number of responders continues to shrink ... the availability of EMTs is key."

Gerace said each trained deputy will have their own EMT trauma kit, paid for by asset forfeiture, not county taxpayers.

"The cost of equipping (deputies) is being paid for by your local drug dealer," Gerace said.

Dan Imfeld, deputy fire coordinator-HAZMAT at Chautauqua County, described the training as an extension to the department's successful AED - or semi-automated external defibrillators - program.

"We've had several 'saves' throughout the county with the AEDs ... and I think this program is just taking that one step further and making it better for our citizens and volunteer fire services," Imfeld said.

Dr. Michael Faulk and Dr. Brian Walters, both medical directors with Chautauqua County Emergency Services, also spoke at the press conference, further touting the EMT training as "filling a critical gap" in the county.

"This is a really unique endeavor for us and something that I've wanted to do for many, many years," Gerace said.

 
 
 

 

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