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Moriarty, N.M., EMS Calls on Rise

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Moriarty, N.M., Fire Chief Dave Cohen said his department is well-prepared to handle requests -- even though calls for service are rising annually.

"They're going up every year," said Cohen, who began working for the city fire department 10 years ago. The statistics show the number of calls has risen consistently by about 100 every year.

Cohen gave his report to Moriarty City Council members on Jan. 22.

In 2007 EMT paramedic, intermediate and basic fire department staff responded to 1,111 emergency medical service request calls in Torrance and Santa Fe counties.

Of those EMS calls, there were 556 in Torrance County, 539 in Moriarty, 14 in Estancia and two in Santa Fe County.

The most responded-to events were:

Motor vehicle accidents, 185.

General sickness, 114.

Chest pain, 103.

Breathing problems, 102.

The same types of calls make the top of the list year after year, Cohen said.

In 2007 MFD responded to a total of 236 fire calls for service. Those calls included response to controlled burns, structure fires and welfare checks.

The total number of calls for service for MFD in 2007 was 1,347, with about 83 percent being EMS calls, which compares statistically with EMS calls from the previous year.

In 2006 MFD responded to more than 1,200 total calls for service with about 85 percent of those being EMS calls.

"Any fire department really faces the same issues -- more EMS calls," Cohen said.

The numbers indicate to the chief that MFD must make sure they have adequate vehicles, medical supplies and extra people trained as emergency medical responders along with being ready to respond to fire calls when they occur.

Currently Moriarty has two EMT paramedics, five EMT intermediates, 10 EMT basics and one first responder. There are three full-time paid staff and 23 volunteers.

The various levels of personnel correspond to the amount of training and ability to provide service. For example, an EMT paramedic must complete 2,400 hours of class and lab time, along with 180 hours of class and lab time for EMT basic and intermediate certificates. The first responder is the lowest and most basic level of training.

Darryl Macias, a trauma unit doctor at University of New Mexico, is the MFD "medical director" who provides oversight to the EMTs, Cohen said.

"He tells us what we can and can't do at the different levels," Cohen said. "Anyone who runs EMS is required to have a doctor for medical reasons. He comes by and provides training and reviews our reports."

According to Cohen, there are not too many things MFD could do to become better prepared.

"The only thing I could think of offhand is to provide more training and more hands-on experience," Cohen said.

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