No one wants to think they will need emergency medical assistance while traveling but sometimes the unexpected happens; if it happens at SMF, passengers now have faster access to Advanced Life Support (ALS) services. As of Aug. 31, Sacramento County Airport
Fire is able to provide ALS services at the airport.
ALS is provided when a patient is in more critical condition and a paramedic is required to assist in the treatment of the patient before and/or during transport to an emergency facility.
“Our airport like a small town,” said Cindy Nichol, Sacramento County Airports Director. “And every community needs a service like this.”
Because of SMF’s location in the northwest corner of the county, it can take 12 to 15 minutes for outside mutual-aid paramedics to arrive on the scene from off-airport. With staff on duty 24/7, Airport Fire is now able to initiate ALS within three minutes more than 90 percent of the time. This can be the difference between life and death and is a significant increase in Airport Fire’s capabilities and level of customer service.
“This is a huge deal and a major leap forward for us,” said Airport Fire Chief Dale Carnes. “ALS allows us to provide to our customers, tenants and employees a very robust set of skills that were previously only available from outside paramedic units.”
Airport Fire currently has four paramedics who are classified as ALS providers and are planning for a total of six.
Paramedics are advanced providers of emergency medical care and are highly educated in topics such as anatomy and physiology, cardiology, pharmacology and medical procedures. EMTs receive 120 to 150 hours of training and are classified as basic life support (BLS) providers.
Paramedics build on their EMT education by completing an additional 1,200 to 1,800 hours of training and learn more skills such as administering more than 20 different medications, starting IVs, providing advanced airways and treating cardiac emergencies though electric cardioversion, defibrillation and external pacing of a patient’s heart.