Calais Fire-EMS Hosts Bereavement Training

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By Kaileigh Deacon


Last Wednesday the Calais Fire-EMS held  Bereavement training at the fire station. The training was set up to help Fire-EMS personnel to talk to the family members left behind when a loved one passes or suffers from sudden illness like a heart attack. 

The state as a whole has required that the Fire and EMS services don’t immediately rush away lights and sirens to the hospital. Rather, state regulation requires that Fire-EMS personnel stay on the scene and perform acts of resuscitation. This decision is based on the fact that a patient’s best chance of survival is immediate and continued CPR and other life saving procedures. “A patients best chance is on scene when a trained people administer aide,” Capt.  Jane Purton of Calais Fire-EMS said. 

When a patient is whisked away immediately resuscitation loses time when the responders have to stop resuscitation to put them on the stretcher, load them in the ambulance and lock the stretcher in place. “Once transportation begins resuscitative efforts (in particular, chest compressions) are less effective for the patient and very dangerous for the provider,” according to the Medical Directions and Practice Board.

Because of the new statewide directive first responders are put in the stressful situations of dealing with the second patient, or the people left behind. The current training Fire-EMS personnel go through doesn’t cover what they should do when dealing with the ones left behind. “We want to provide our first responders with the tools they need,” Chief Posick said.

The training was run by Amy Wescott and June Gillespie at the fire station. Wescott is a Hospice Social Worker with Community Health and Counseling Services and Gillespie is a Bereavement Coordinator with Down East Hospice. The offered their expertise in working with bereavement to help prepare the Fire-EMS personnel for situations they might encounter. “We’re spending more time with the loved ones at the scene. This training helped teach our first responders what to say,” Capt. Purton said.

City Manager Diane Barnes commended Chief Posick and all those who participated in the training at the City Council Meeting on Thursday. The two hour training went more in depth than any of the EMS classes in the current training according to Posick. 

“People are used to seeing us in and out we want to make sure people know why we aren’t rushing away when we get on scene,” Capt. Purton said. Calais Fire-EMS , Capt. Purton and Chief Posick would like to extend their thanks to Amy Wescott and June Gillespie for the wonderful training they provided.