Manila First Responders always prepared

Monday, June 28, 2004
Members of the First Responders pictured from left are William Barnhart, Wes Sandusky, Gary Hill and Keith Bennett. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Manila First Responders organized a little over a year ago to be in position to back up the local ambulance service if necessary.

Manila Fire Chief and member of the First Responders Don Nunnally said the idea and training came from Chad Timms, a paramedic with Medic One in Manila.

There are times when the ambulance is out of town. The First Responders can help until another ambulance arrives.

Nunnally stressed that people should call the ambulance first in an emergency situation.

"If the ambulance is out of town, the police department will call us and then contact the nearest ambulance available," Nunnally said. "We are fortunate to have Medic One headquartered in Manila. It is costly and they depend on transport runs and service here and in Leachville."

The First Responders is a volunteer group. They have taken a minimum of 40 hours advanced first aid. The training includes maintaining airways, treating shock, CPR, blood loss control and basic skills.

"We try to stabilize the patient and secure the scene while waiting on the ambulance to arrive. The training is good for anyone. There is a critical time from when it is discovered someone is in trouble to getting help," Nunnally said. "Someone in all families should have CPR training."

Other Manila First Responders are Heather Sandusky, Kelly Field, Tracey Reinhart, Wesley Sandusky, Tommy Dillon, Kent Moore, Keith Bennett, Brandon Bollinger, Gary Hill, William Barnhart and Barry Baker.

Heather is a registered nurse, Hill, Bennett and Nunnally are all EMTs.

Many of the First Responders are Manila firemen also. The firemen have extrication tools for accidents. Most of the time the ambulance is on the scene with the fire department but there are times when fire department arrives first.

"Having the additional First Responder training helps when we are first at the scene," Nunnally said. "The First Responders is not suited to everyone. There is a lot of pressure that goes with it. Our volunteers have jobs and families but usually, we will have at least two or three available at all times. The men and women that have volunteered for this are very dedicated," Nunnally said. "They are ready to get out and help the community.

"We are not equipped like the ambulance. We do have an automatic defibrillator and first aid supplies on our rescue truck."

Nunnally again pointed out that it is important that the ambulance is called first in all emergency situations.

"We are here to help when we can," Nunnally said. "On average, we will respond to a couple calls a week."

Carroll Towell, 37 year volunteer fireman at Manila, praised the First Responders.

"These First Responders are going to save lives when the ambulance is out. They are dedicated. We didn't have this when I started on the fire department. We are proud of these fellows for the time they give to train and for responding when they are needed," Towell said.

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