SLT firefighters upgrade licensing to high-tech

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:18 AM

Township Fire Chief Rick Nuvill said 20 of the department’s 25 volunteer firefighters are now basic EMS licensed — which allows them to use ventilation tubes, glucometers for blood-sugar testing and epinephrine injections (EpiPen) for allergic reactions.

Nuvill said it’s taken the department about two years to upgrade its personnel from the first-responder level.

Spring Lake Township joins Allendale and Zeeland townships as the only municipalities in Ottawa County with Basic EMS status, according to Rich Szczepanek, EMS systems administrator for the county’s Medical Control Board.

In Northwest Ottawa County, only the Grand Haven Township Fire Department is licensed at a higher level: advanced life support/non-transport.

“We applaud Spring Lake Township’s initiative in taking these steps,” Szczepanek said. “This means there’s a higher level of medical care that can be provided by the fire department. Anything that they can do to better serve their constituents, I’m all for it — especially with the distance that some parts of Spring Lake Township are from the hospital.”

Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash said the advanced training has another hidden benefit — it will raise the township’s insurance score rating (ISO), thus lowering residents’ homeowner policy premiums.

“If our guys can provide higher-tech first aid, you’re going to get the care that’s really important a lot faster when you have a serious emergency,” Nash said. “Our guys are going to be there. They’ll be able to use the equipment that is critical when we’re talking about a critical health emergency.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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