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By Frank Nixon
While those who freely give their time to help in schools, libraries, churches and museums play a vital role, not every volunteer can say that what they do, quite literally, could mean the difference between life and death. However, some 35 members of the Town of Brome Lake First Responders can.
The first responder team offers pre-hospital medical services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their mission is to stabilize people in need of medical assistance while waiting for the arrival of an ambulance.
Each first responder has undertaken 60 hours of training and must take three recertification courses of four hours each per year. First responders do not need to live in Brome Lake but when in service they must remain in the territory of TBL.
What happens when a person makes a call to 911? â€śThe person making a call to the 911 service is answered by 911 in Sherbrooke,â€ť says Pierre Laplante, head of the first responders and director of the Brome Lake Fire Department. â€śThe call is then redirected to the pre-hospitalized services of Longueuil, who will take the necessary information to forward the proper services to adequately answer the call.â€ť
Due to the confidential nature of the job they do, first responders are unable to give specific details on the emergencies they have been called upon to carry out.
However, Laplante recently gave Brome County News an overview of the number and kinds of medical situations first responders have encountered over the past couple of years.
In 2009, the service responded to 311 medical situations. In 2010, the number was 316. The top three reasons for an emergency call are for chest pains, accidents and respiratory problems.
The Brome Lake First Responder service has been in operation since March 2003. The rules regarding the setting up of a first responder service are set out in â€śLa Loi sur les services prĂ©hospitaliers dâ€™urgence.â€ť
The service is financed by the Town of Brome Lake with the assistance of a number of sponsors, and also relies on fundraising events organized by members or town citizens. The 2011 operating budget approved by Council was set at $79,000.
â€śIf you live in the Town of Brome Lake and would like to give some time to this group, contact us and weâ€™ll be happy to fill you in on the details of getting started,â€ť said Laplante.
For more information or to apply, e-mail: email@example.com, or call 450-243-5789.