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Ask the Chief: Public safety requires a comprehensive approach

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Q: Why does a fire truck always accompany an ambulance when it responds to a call? Isn't it expensive to send out a truck when it is a residential call?

A: Thank you for your question. As this is primarily a Fire Department question, I forwarded your question to Acting Fire Chief Mike Warner for his response and input.

I also would like to add that both the Fire and Police departments take our budget process seriously and as we prepare for the 2020 budget, we are constantly reviewing our operating expenditures.

You may also notice that there is usually a police officer also present on medical calls. We value the sanctity of human life, and when a medical 911 call comes in, we consider it to be life threatening and realize that in the case of a heart attack, minutes matter! All squad cars are equipped with automated external defibrillators, known as AEDs, and officers are trained in their usage which in the past has saved lives.

Acting Chief Warner replied, "The ambulance is staffed with two paramedics. Some of the calls that we respond on are time sensitive calls such as strokes. Others are very serious medical conditions such as a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

These calls need more than two paramedics to ensure that all of the medical care is rendered in a timely matter. To assist in these needs, the fire engine responds on these calls. The fire engine is staffed with two firefighter/paramedics one of which is the officer of the shift.

When the patient is loaded in the ambulance and transporting to the hospital, the two members on the fire engine take the fire engine back to the station.

If another call comes in before the fire engine gets back, fire engine would respond to the next call. The fire engine is an advanced life support fire engine meaning that besides the fire hose and equipment the fire engine carries the same medical supplies as the ambulance."

Public safety is all about being prepared to assist our community members when a crisis occurs. Not all crises are predictable, therefore we must remain ready to respond when the call for help comes in.

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