By Anne Eickstadt



Belvidere firefighters had the opportunity to train with OSFs latest training equipment–the Simulator.

“North Region EMS has worked with the Belvidere Fire Department since 1977 when we started,” said Greg Snow, lead EMS education specialist and lead paramedic instructor. “They are a non-transport paramedic engine unit. 

“Over the years, they have been well trained in advanced life support. They have the same equipment and supplies as an ambulance, but they do not have room on a fire engine to stretch out a patient. The firefighters are all also trained paramedics. They are held to a very high standard and they are excellent at what they do.”

“We assist and back them up with transport,” said Sue Fagan, director of Emergency Medical Services at OSF Healthcare. “We have a very good relationship.”

“I brought the Simulator to the Belvidere Station for training. The Simulator gives them all the aspects of being in an ambulance,” Snow said. “Firefighters often go with the ambulance to the hospital, actively continuing care on the patient. The firefighters are trained at the same level as EMS.

“Their most current training is with cardiac arrest patients using high-fidelity mannequins. We train like the real thing. We start IVs, defibrillate, and do CPR manually.”

“We utilize the Simulator so they can get the concept of being in the back of an ambulance,” Fagan said.

“We can even make it move like a moving vehicle,” Snow said. “They can feel the bumps in the road and deal with quick stops while they care for the patient. The Belvidere Fire Department is a very well trained department. Hands down, it’s a great department.”

Fagan said, “We also have video screens for the Simulator so that everyone outside can watch and be trained with the group of firefighters that are inside.

“Belvidere firefighters get special monthly training with OSF to supplement their daily in-house training, but all the firefighters, from the newest to the most seasoned, are excellent.”

Fire Chief Al Hyser said, “When I ask them what they want to do next for training, the guys always ask for more outside expertise in medical training. It’s good to have an outsider doing the training to give them different perspectives and learn new methods for treating, burns, trauma, and whatever else they may encounter.”

“In future training with the Simulator,” said Snow. “They will get a burn lecture from a doctor who specializes in burns. They will get a new perspective and new information. We will work on different scenarios that they may encounter.

“I have taught Firefighters Troy Vanderbroek, Adam Ellwanger, Travis Tangye and Adam Trujillo, and I get to continue and work with them and the rest of these firefighters. I get to see them continue their education and see trending things. 

“Firefighters are the first ones to see new trends on the streets–new equipment (such as hover boards) with which someone can be hurt or the latest type of opioids that people take. With that knowledge, we can focus on training the guys for treating the trending issues they are likely to encounter. We can’t treat what we haven’t seen yet.”

“As Paramedics, we need to have a minimum of 100+ hours of continuing education every four years and keep our separate trauma/pediatric/CPR certifications current to maintain our license with the State of Illinois,” said Captain Dave Burdick, Belvidere Fire Department’s EMS coordinator. “Our department is fortunate to have a great support system with the OSF EMS Office. They facilitate additional training needs, provide initial education to our new hires who are not medically trained, and assist us with license renewals/inspections for the state.  

“As technology evolves, we are able to obtain more realistic training equipment and perform scenarios that allow us to be better prepared to respond for our community. Our relationship with OSF continues to grow and we look forward to continue our work together in the future.”

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