Chances are anyone who has a police scanner may have heard first responders in Brookport or Metropolis being dispatched to a medical calls.
In the Village of Joppa, there were no first responders, until March 2012, when Sabrina Banks, telecommunicator for Massac County Sheriff’s Office and Pope County’s Ambulance Director, taught a first responder class in Joppa. Banks is also a paramedic and EMS Lead instructor through Illinois Department of Public Health.
Joppa Fire Department’s Chief Daniel McHaney, who is also a deputy with Massac County Sheriff’s Department, explained Banks taught the two hour class two nights a week for about eight weeks and 11 of Joppa Fire Department’s 14 volunteer firefighters, 11 signed up to take the class.
At the conclusion of the class and after testing, all 11 individuals passed and are certified first responders and as of Jan. 23, the Joppa Volunteer Fire Department is now a licensed First Responder Unit.
McHaney points out all of the members of the Joppa First Responders are licensed as first responders through the Illinois Department of Public Health. All first responders must complete a minimum of 40 hours initial training and then must maintain at least 24 hours of continuing education every four years.
McHaney said one of the main reasons for having the class and getting people trained and certified as first responders is because of the timeframe it could take for an ambulance to arrive to a medical emergency in Joppa.
He said the ambulance service typically has two crews on call. McHaney says there is always the possibility that one crew might be transporting a patient and the second crew may be responding to a medical call in Metropolis or Brookport when a medical emergency could happen in Joppa.
According to McHaney, if that were to happen, then dispatchers would likely have to call Mercy Ambulance service from Paducah, which would take longer to arrive.
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