By Christine Bryant
New data shows the addition of a fire station on the eastern portion of Reynoldsburg has reduced response times for residents living in Licking County.
At the March 26 Reynoldsburg City Council meeting, Assistant Chief Joseph Krouse of the West Licking Joint Fire District will present the community with figures that show how a station that opened in 2016 on Taylor Road has allowed first responders to reach Reynoldsburg residents who live in Licking County faster.
He also will share how a partnership between Mount Carmel East Hospital and several fire departments on the Eastside has benefitted patients suffering from a stroke.
In 2017, the West Licking Joint Fire District responded to 998 EMS calls and 328 fire calls in Reynoldsburg.
While the Truro Township Fire Department covers the portion of Reynoldsburg located in Franklin County, West Licking Joint Fire Districts covers the portion of the city that falls in Licking County and Violet Township Fire Department covers what falls in Fairfield County. They also all provide mutual aid for one another.
In 2015, the average West Licking Joint Fire District response time to a Reynoldsburg call was 7 minutes, 55 seconds. In 2017, since the addition of the Taylor Road station that sits between East Broad Street and East Main Street, the average response time has decreased to 5 minutes, 46 seconds.
Minutes matter, Krouse says, which is why the implementation of a program that helps stroke patients receive faster treatment is also helping local residents.
At the beginning of 2017, West Licking Joint Fire District began working with Mount Carmel East Hospital on a pilot program where during a medical run when a stroke is suspected, paramedics will draw blood en route to the hospital.
“During the assessment of the patients, if they are having stroke-like symptoms, we’ll do a stroke alert to the hospital,” Krouse said. “They’ll clear the CT room and get the stroke team down to the emergency room. When the crews arrive at the hospital, they’ll hand off the blood sample to a technician or nurse waiting, who will take it directly to the lab.”
The goal of the program is to initiate faster treatments for patients by getting test results sooner, said Jamie Wilson, manager of EMS for the Mount Carmel Health System.
In the first year of the program, the hospital delivered stroke treatment an average of 20.6-percent faster, he said.
“That’s a very significant time savings,” Wilson said.
Providing patients with faster treatment is critical in those suffering from a stroke, Krouse said.
“Time is brain,” he said. “If the brain isn’t perfusing, then the tissue is dying. The quicker we can recognize the stroke and get that blood flow moving again, it reduces the amount of damage being done to the brain.”
Other Eastside departments participated in the pilot program at Mount Carmel East as well, including Truro Township, Violet Township, Whitehall and Jefferson Township. Eventually, it expanded to include Plain Township and New Albany, Wilson said.
The initiative has been so successful that it is now considered a full program at the hospital.
“Because it was so beneficial, we have expanded the program to the St. Ann’s and Mount Carmel West markets,” Wilson said.
This summer, West Licking Joint Fire District’s station 4 on Taylor Road will see another addition. While the station currently only houses ambulances, a fire truck now being built is expected to join the location in June.
“This will help reduce times on fire responses as well,” Krouse said.